Chants to Persephone by Jennifer Macaire

Chants to Persephone

by Jennifer Macaire

In the fifth book in the Time For Alexander series, the Thief of Souls has stolen Alexander’s soul, and the druids have foretold the end of their world and have raised an army to kidnap Paul. They mean to stop Rome from invading Gaul and thus change the course of time. Meanwhile, an oracle tells Alexander and Ashley they must go to the Land of the Eaters of the Dead.

Paul has stowed away on their ship, and Nearchus has decided that now is the time to profess his love to Alexander. To further complicate things, Charidmus, an old foe of Alexander’s, recognizes him and realizes he hasn’t died. Ashley knows she must stop the druids, find the Thief of Souls, keep Charidemus quiet, somehow get Nearchus out of their bed, and time back on track – or the Time Senders are going to have a fit. There’s also a small matter of a human sacrifice with Alexander as the chosen victim. What’s a time traveller to do?

‘Who is Voltarrix, and what is a thief of souls?’ I asked Yovanix, the Gallic slave who had joined us on our voyage.

‘In Celtic myth, it’s a druid who can steal souls.’ He made a face. ‘I’m not explaining this very well. I’m not Celt you see. But if Anoramix was afraid of him, I would be frightened too. Anoramix was never afraid of anything, not even death. There’s one last thing I should tell you.’ He licked his lips nervously. ‘Selena told me never to trust you. She said you were really Persephone, the Queen of Ice and Darkness, and that your heart was like a stone.’

‘She was still upset about Anoramix,’ I said uncertainly.

‘She blamed you for his death and wanted revenge. She forbade me to tell you that Voltarrix is still seeking Paul. She said that Paul would never be safe, and that no one could protect him.’

‘What does he want with Paul?’

Yovanix spoke as if weighing his words. ‘If it’s true Iskander lost his soul, I think I know why. If Voltarrix captured Paul and put Iskander’s soul in his body, can you imagine what would happen? Paul can no longer call the moon, but he can grow up to lead an army. The Druids are starting to feel the end of their world approaching. They speak of only one thing now; stopping the Romans before it’s too late. Some think it’s already too late. Voltarrix is one of the old ones who believe that time can be twisted.’

‘Twisted?’ I echoed. My voice sounded odd.

‘The druids believe that time can be changed, like a river’s course. They can change it, slow it, or speed it up. With enough work, they can even make it flow backward. Time is the foundation of the druid’s religion’

It was starting to make sense. Time. The Aztecs had foreseen the date their empire would topple, and they had tried to turn back time with their ceremonies. Nothing had worked for them. Nothing would work for the druids. The Romans would take over and usher in the modern world. Unless a boy, who never should have been born, somehow changed time.
It was conceivable – there were still two hundred years. After that, nothing would halt the inexorable march of the Roman Empire and the event that changed the world; the birth of Christ. But suppose the druids somehow managed to unite the Norsemen, Celts, and Gauls against the Romans? What if Paul were somehow the catalyst? Paul – with Iskander’s soul.

I took a deep breath. I would have to think about this. There were three people in the world who should never have been born: Paul, Chiron, and Cleopatra – and I was not supposed to be in this time or place. Anyone of us could, conceivably, change the world. A butterfly’s wings indeed.

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in Paris. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories..

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