I thought, for my next few blogposts, that I would give my faithful readers a sneak peek inside my books - starting with the three published novels, and then an excerpt from both of my unpublished but completed manuscripts. This passage from my first book, THE TESTIMONIUM, relates the discovery of the scroll that the book takes its title from. The team of archeologists have just succeeded in unlocking an ancient cabinet found inside a sealed chamber on the Isle of Capri . . .
Only a faint film of dust lay over the two scrolls that were inside. Each was sealed with faded red wax, bearing the now familiar signet of Tiberius Caesar. The scrolls appeared completely intact, though faded with age to a light brown color. His voice slightly trembling, MacDonald said “Josh, get me the padded forceps and two covered trays.” Parker scrambled to get two trays and cover them with acid free paper. He found his own hands trembling slightly as he held out the first tray. MacDonald carefully lifted the first scroll with the padded forceps and placed it on the tray. Josh carried it to the table, and they clustered around to look at it. The seal had obviously been made with the same ring they had found on the writing table, but the remnants of an older, long-broken seal were visible beside it. The now familiar spidery handwriting of Tiberius had recorded a short description on the outside of the scroll. “C. Iuli Caesaris Augusti testamento ultimum,” read Josh. “The last will and testament of Caesar Augustus.” There were whoops of excitement from the rest of the team.
“Now the other one,” said Father MacDonald. He carefully took the forceps and lifted the second sealed scroll from its two thousand year old resting place and gently laid it on the tray that Josh held waiting. It was likewise sealed and inscribed, and Josh carried it to the table before trying to decipher the elderly Emperor’s shaky Latin. He pulled the magnifying glass over the scroll once he got it situated, looked at the scroll, and then turned deathly pale. He staggered backwards two steps.
“Josh!” Isabella said with great concern. “What on earth?”
He could not speak. Somehow he was seated on the floor, although he had no memory of his legs giving out. He opened his mouth two or three times, and then gave up trying to get any words out. He simply pointed a trembling finger at the scroll lying on the tray. Father MacDonald looked through the magnifying glass and read the inscription. “Testimonium Pontii Pilati Procuratoris Iudaeae,” he read. “The Testimony of Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea.”
Isabella paled. Rossini and Apriceno simply stared at each other in shock.
“Holy Christ!” said Father MacDonald. It was not an expletive but a prayer.