Online Reviews of The Deadliest Lie
REVIEW OF THE DEADLIEST LIE BY THE HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY
Miriam, Binyamin, and their father live in 1st-century Alexandria, a city that vacillates between stunning beauty and wealth and harsh cruelty mounting against its Jewish residents. Miriam is resisting the increasing pressure to marry Noah, the son of a wealthy business partner. Her secret passion and dream is to become a reputable alchemist, a dangerous occupation since all who work with the mercury-laden elements are dying from exposure to its poison. When the scrolls she borrowed from Joshua, the bastard she really loves, are stolen, Miriam sets out to recover the priceless documents. At the same time her brother pursues his hope of leaving Alexandria to become a renowned gladiator. Much danger follows as the characters wrestle between embracing traditional roles to please their father and following their dreams.
While the mystery of recovering the missing scrolls fuels the central plot of this mystery, the author provides beautiful descriptions of the architecture, jewelry, food, vegetation, commercial shops, and so much more that clearly defines Alexandria as a vibrant, energetic metropolis. Herein lie the mingling cultures of Greeks, Romans and Jews, and readers will feel like they are really there, walking, eating, and observing what are exotic yet also familiar experiences. Readers will be surprised not only by the shocking discovery of the thief but also by the rapidly appearing tragedies and scenes involving the healing of years of misunderstandings. June Trop is a skilled mystery author who has created memorable characters and a rich depiction of the city known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Finely crafted and fascinating historical fiction!
REVIEW FROM READERS' FAVORITE
June Trop's mystery and historical fiction novel, The Deadliest Lie, is set in Roman Alexandria in 46 CE. Miriam bat Isaac is 16, well educated, and engaged to Noah, the son of Amram, her father's best friend and business partner. She is under pressure to set a date for the marriage. Miriam is undecided because she wants to be an alchemist. She borrows two priceless scrolls from Judah, a jeweler and an alchemist in the League of Alchemists. Miriam is very frightened when her notes and the League's scrolls are stolen from the family home. The information is secret and could endanger all Jews. The next few days are harrowing, filled with tension and danger as she suspects the thief could be her father, Isaac, or her twin brother, Binyamin, or her fiancé, Noah. Miriam is, however, determined to find the thief and recover the scrolls.
I enjoyed reading June Trop's The Deadliest Lie for its strong characters. I liked the richly imagined details of Roman Alexandria that permeate the entire story because that added depth to the characters and to the significance of the stolen scrolls. Miriam is an independent thinker, intensely curious and determined to be an alchemist. She is a keen observer of nature, of people, of the city. She is afraid but courageous, willing to take risks. I liked the way Trop weaves together and creates tension in the novel through Miriam's life, her family, and the stolen scrolls. A fascinating novel, inspired to some degree by an early alchemist, Maria Hebrea, who became the legendary founder of Western alchemy.
“You gain a full sense that you have actually been transported back to Ancient Alexandria, that you are walking down a real avenue with all its wonders and danger. You are there! Whether it is the particular clothing being worn, food that is being eaten, or the engrossing architectural and sculptural decor, you will come to believe that you are indeed in Alexandria.... an actual eyewitness to what is going on.”
“Rarely do I read a book that is equally informative and engrossing. Ms. Trop's new book is a true page turner, but it also brings us right into first-century Alexandria so that we can experience what life must have been like so long ago. A great read for anyone who loves Historical Fiction or Mysteries written with a great sense of character and human emotion.”
“A thoroughly enjoyable and informative novel. I'm looking forward to her next novel and the continuance of the lives of the characters.”
“Ms. Trop writes a book set in ancient Alexandria. Rich in history, she takes you on a journey and in vivid detail tells you about a woman who is fascinated by alchemy.... A great read.”
“I experienced Miriam's pain as she struggles to find the stolen scrolls and to overcome the obstacles that preclude her from living the life she dreams to live; I celebrated with Miriam as she crosses the threshold from girlhood to womanhood.”
“A remarkable first historical novel... takes place in the first century CE in Alexandria... making the reader actually feel a part of this period of time... Anyone interested in this period of history, chemists, and mystery fans will enjoy this first work of Ms. Trop.”
“Things just seem to flow, and I did not want it to end as quickly as it did. I am looking forward to the next book by this author. Until then, I will probably wait a few months and then reread this book to get still more out of it. It is rich in detail and storyline, and the author's style is smooth and embracing.”
“The Deadliest Lie is rich in mystery and history. It opens the ancient world of Alexandria to the reader who follows its intrepid heroine in her dangerous search for the stolen scrolls containing the secret formulas of alchemy.”
“So absorbing and chock full of history.... What an easy and enjoyable read!”
“Once the stage was set for the mystery to unfold, I really wanted to know what happened to those scrolls, and to Miriam.... I can't wait for the next story!”
“A romance, historical novel, mystery, and action thriller all rolled up into one. There is something for everyone here.... Crammed with love interests, a baffling mystery, and lots of fast and furious action... extremely promising first novel.”
“I liked the suspense and the character development... a great first novel by June Trop.”
“This book has everything a good historical novel needs: a coming of age story, a likeable main character, the heat of a budding romance, a mystery, unsavory characters, complicated, mixed characters and explicit information that teaches you about a people, time and place... reminded me a little of Willa Cather or Zane Grey in that you were as much in a place, as in a story. Also, she is able to nail experiences you might have had but perhaps had never verbalized.”
“An interesting look into the life of a Jewish Roman citizen in Alexandria during the first century AD.”
“My favorite book of the year!!”
“What a fascinating book! I actually felt like I was there in ancient Alexandria. I could smell the smells both good and bad. I could see the architecture and the neighborhoods. I could feel the breezes, see the filth in the streets, [and] understand how the people both Jews and non-Jews lived under Roman tyranny.”
"Has suspense, romance, and adventure... all wrapped in one. A great read."
"All the elements I look for...a good read, historic...related to technology... involved my religious roots, and...a fascinating mystery."
"As an ancient history buff with a passion for Egyptian archeology, I devoured the descriptions written by June Trop. The reader is not only treated with a mystery, but also the smells, sights, tastes and overall feeling of ancient Egypt. I could almost taste the sesame cakes, feel Miriam’s himation, and smell the interior of the litter for hire. The bonus is that Miriam is based on a real historical figure, Marie Hebrea, a celebrated alchemist. I eagerly look forward to Ms. Trop’s next book."
"It' a page turner. Can't wait for the next book."
"I particularly liked the characterization of the members of Miriam's family. You could truly sense her father's anxiety and brother's recklessness in the pages."
"I enjoyed reading about life in ancient times for Jewish women in Alexandria."