A Coin for the Ferryman

by Megan Edwards

He came. He saw. She conquered.

In 1999, an elite interdisciplinary team headed by Nobel laureate Andrew Danicek gathered in California to carry out a ground-breaking time-travel experiment. While the rest of the world remained unaware, Julius Caesar was successfully transported from his last Ides of March to a specially-constructed covert facility. Four days of conversation with historians and Latin scholars were planned, followed by Caesar’s return to the moment from which he was extracted, thus keeping subsequent history intact. But despite the team’s meticulous efforts to plan for all possible exigencies, an unscrupulous antiquities dealer who learns of Caesar’s visit disrupts the experiment with a kidnap attempt. Cassandra Fleury, the youngest member of the team, must summon strength she didn’t know she possessed to return Caesar to the Ides of March.

Kept silent by draconian non-disclosure agreements for more than two decades, the team members who participated in Danicek’s experiment have said nothing. Certain events have now permitted the story to be revealed. Perhaps the most surprising result of the experiment is that the lives of each team member were inexorably altered in was no one could have predicted.

A Coin for the Ferryman
will be available, online and wherever fine books are sold, on March 3, 2022.

Author picture

Megan Edwards is the author of the travel memoir “Roads from the Ashes,” the humor book “Caution: Funny Signs Ahead,” two Copper Black mystery novels “Getting off on Frank Sinatra” and “Full Service Blonde” and a romantic novel “Strings.” She has lived and traveled extensively in Europe and spent nearly seven years “on the road” all over North America. Now at home in Las Vegas, Nevada, she is working on her next novel.

For more information, visit MeganEdwards.com and connect with Megan on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

Megan Edwards launched Full Service Blonde on November 7th at The Writers Block in downtown Las Vegas.  Complimentary wine and gourmet hors d’oeuvres crafted  by the chefs at the Goodwich were served to the guests.  Click here to see photos from the event!

I

Id. Mart. DCCX A.U.C.

“Juli.”

He heard the first whisper but waited for the second.

“Juli. Are you awake?”

Julius Caesar had been awake for nearly an hour, though dawn was just breaking.

“I am awake,” he said as she reached his bed. She sat on the edge. He smelled the rosemary before she held it near.

“My darling,” she said. In the dim light, he watched her hold the rosemary first to her own nostrils, then to his.

“Calpurnia,” he said.

She kissed his brow. “Juli,” she said again. “Will you stay with me today?”

Caesar considered her request for a brief moment. These moments of lucidity visited his wife ever more infrequently. He had no way of knowing when the madness would descend again, when he would no longer be her “Juli,” but once again her captor and tormentor.

“We can ride out the Appian,” she said, wheedling now. “Terentia says the hyacinths have already begun to bloom.”

It was still too early for wildflowers, Caesar knew, but what did it matter? He had no time for a picnic or a stroll. He would be leaving for Parthia in April, and it was already the Ides of March.

“No, my dove,” he said. “I am expected in the Senate.”

“I know that.” Calpurnia sighed. “It was a wish, not an expectation.”

She tucked the sprig of rosemary under his pillow and departed.

By the time Caesar was ready to leave for Pompey’s Theater, madness had once again overtaken his wife. Her shrieks echoed through the house. Not for the first time, he wondered whether he had succeeded in keeping her strange fits and rages a secret. Anyone walking by outside could hear her wails.

“Do not depart this house!” she cried as Caesar crossed the atrium. “They will ensnare you! You will never return!”

Terentia rushed into the atrium and tried to restrain her, but Calpurnia wrestled free and threw her arms around her husband.

“Juli! Juli! Do not abandon me!”

Calpurnia had often screamed at him in her madness, accusing Caesar of harming her in countless terrible ways. “Get away, you brute!” she would screech, day after day. “Don’t touch me, foul dog of Orcus!”

What is so different about today? he wondered. Why all the pleading instead of her usual anger?

“If you must go, take a dagger!” Calpurnia cried. “Do not go unarmed, I beseech you!” Her eyes wild, she clutched his arms. “There will be blood! I see it! I see it everywhere!”

Madness, Caesar told himself. Her words carried no special knowledge. She was raving, nothing more.

He departed, though the sun had not yet reached above the garden wall. Nothing could be gained by remaining with his poor suffering wife, and he could use the time to clear his head before he faced the tasks of the day.

As was Caesar’s custom when he could spare the time, he walked to the Cestian Bridge. He paused there to look over the Tiber, thinking—as he always did—about the memorable day he had chanced to meet Servilia in this very spot so many years before.

Their meeting at the bridge had been a coincidence. Servilia and Caesar had always taken the utmost care never to be seen together inappropriately in public. Fortunately, it was early morning. Just like today, there were no passersby.

Caesar looked down at the water. Swollen by recent storms in the hills, the river was rough and dark. Utterly unlike the day of that chance meeting long ago. The Tiber had been blue and placid that other day, as calm as Servilia, as docile as the baby perched on the stone railing next to her.

“Juli, meet Marcus,” Servilia said, once they had both concluded it was safe to acknowledge each other. “At long last.”

At last, indeed. This was Marcus Brutus, the child who had kept the lovers apart for so many months. Caesar had attended his lustratio, of course, but that had been nearly a year before.

Caesar stared at the boy, impressed at how straight and tall he sat for one so young. He met Caesar’s gaze solemnly with unblinking black eyes.

“He is a willful one,” Servilia said. “But I suppose that comes as no surprise.”

She laughed, then bent down to adjust her sandal.

Just that. A simple thing. A task that took a moment, no different from the myriad of mundane occurrences that make up a lifetime. What if Caesar had not chosen to pass by the Cestian Bridge that morning, or if he had arrived at a different hour? But it was pointless to wonder. He was there when the baby, one moment strong and still, began to fall backward. Caesar stepped forward and grasped the child’s left arm. By the time his mother rose, he was sitting straight again, Caesar’s hand supporting his back.

Servilia looked from the baby to Caesar. When their eyes met, she smiled.

“I am so happy you and Marcus have met,” she said.

Caesar nodded and smiled at the baby. The boy stared back at him, utterly unaware of his brush with death. Reluctant to spoil the brief time he was enjoying with his mother, Caesar said nothing about it to her.

“I am so happy I decided to walk past the Cestian Bridge today,” he said instead.

And today, Caesar thought as he continued on his way to the Senate, I am happy again, in spite of Calpurnia’s lunacy and in spite of all the whining demands and self-centered grievances that awaited him at Pompey’s Theater.

Because Marcus Brutus would be there, too. In the gifted statesman he had become, Caesar would always see that tiny, dark-eyed boy sitting calmly on the stone railing of the Cestian Bridge. He would once again remember how, on a cool spring morning long ago, fate placed his hand at a baby’s back while his mother tied her sandal.

Hardback: $29.950 US      ISBN:  9781945501159  — First Edition: March 2022
Paperback:  $20.00 US     ISBN: 9781945501166 (not yet available)
ePUB: $13.99 US              ISBN:  9781945501173
Audiobook: $32.00        ISBN:  9781945501180
Unabridged, (Under Production) Narrated by ____________ Production by BeeAudio Ltd. & Imbrifex Books Audio

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