This is the third book by Ms. Trop in the Miriam Bat Isaac mystery series and is arguably the most layered. Once again, we return to first century AD Alexandria. This time Miriam is reunited with her gladiator twin brother Binyamin who has come home and desires to start his own gladiatorial school in Alexandria after his last bout in the city's arena is concluded. The book's title is a double entendre - it not only refers to the obviously deadly gladiatorial games but could also apply to the deadly shenanigans that go on in Alexandria's dark underbelly where death also plays a role. The descriptive backdrop to all of this lends genuine credibility to the story being told.
Shortly after Binyamin's return he has a serious conflict with Miriam over inheritance funds that he is no longer entitled to. The will, which is a key determining factor, suddenly disappears. A sequence of deaths then occurs. Are they related? Were the individuals murdered? And if so, by whom? Is Binyamin involved? The unexpected results of an arena confrontation add to the mystery. As Miriam investigates the events that created this mystery, she is drawn deeper and deeper into an ever-expanding dark whirlpool unaware that she herself may become the next victim...
I have been reading the Miriam bat Isaac series since THE DEADLIEST LIE. As with Trop's earlier two books, THE DEADLIEST SPORT puts the reader right into the time and place. YOU ARE THERE! This latest book is both a quest for a missing will AND a murder mystery. As to who killed the public slave and why, we are brought into the world of gladiatorial combat. We learn how they are recruited how they are trained, and how they travel throughout the Roman Empire with their troupe, but if you think gladiatorial combat is the deadliest sport you are mistaken! There are quite a few surprises in this book. It is an easy read full of strong prose and memorable characters DONT MISS IT!
If you enjoy escaping into a different world for an afternoon, then First Century Alexandria is a great place to visit. The author provides a third tour of the city's sights, sounds, and smells in the context of a traditional "whodunit" in which the protagonist--based on the first historical female alchemist--must track down a missing document and solve the murder of the only person who had access to it. The quest leads us through the luxury and squalor of the ancient city, with a side trip to the gladiatorial arena's well-described scenes of slaughter-as-entertainment. A marvelous peek into an eerily familiar world.
THE DEADLIEST SPORT TRANSPORTS US TO ANCIENT ALEXANDRIA
The Deadliest Sport transports us to Ancient Alexandria, where we come upon a renowned gladiator, a profligate, out to steal his sister's fortune. Truly the evil twin, he will stop at nothing to secure funding for the school of gladiators that he wishes to establish.
Miriam bat Isaac, alchemist, sleuth, and mirror opposite to her twin, stands up to the challenges she confronts. Physical danger, the poor health of a beloved elder, and the quest for natural cures for ailments all serve to summon and enhance her prodigious inner strength.
Ms. Trop provides an alluring mix of mystery, history, and heroism in a well-researched novel that is difficult to put down.
THERE'S NOTHING WORSE THAN A SIBLING BETRAYAL.
Marian bat Isaac has welcomed her brother back home. But after explaining that he no longer has claim to his share of the family money people start turning up dead and go missing.
Can Marian figure out who is behind the death and missing people? Or will she be next on the list?
From the first page I was captivated by this story. I seriously stayed up all night because I couldn't put the book down. The author did amazing on world building and made me feel as if I was right there in the time.
June Trop takes us once again thru the streets of Alexandria during the rule of the Romans in the 1st century CE. Trop vividly evokes the atmosphere of this great international city teeming with Romans, Greeks and Jews. She brings to life the foods, the clothing, hairdos, landscapes, streets and seedy alleys of this great city, this time introducing us to what is indeed the deadliest sport: gladiatorial combat. We learn the intricacies of this sport—its teams, its training, its culture—the way people know about baseball today.
We are again guided through Alexandria by Miriam Bat Isaac, our feisty heroine/sleuth, and her world of alchemy. We also get to hang out with her pious family, her brother and his gladiatorial buddies, and a collection of memorable characters. Trop has studied this world deeply, and brings it alive for us in a way that enables myth to become history as Alexandria pulses into life.
A POWERFUL FEMALE LEAD
In The Deadliest Sport, we are transported back to first century Alexandria. The city is a melting pot of religion, beliefs all under the ruthless Roman rule. We are a witness to crime, religious beliefs and the day-to-day life of average citizens. Our main character, is a strong, independent young woman named Miriam. I loved that June included this powerful female lead as so many times, especially during this time period, the focus is on the power of men. Instead we learn more about Miriam and her role in the family business, control over family assets and the protective place she has for her friends.
In this book, Miriam's brother is freed from the life of a gladiator on his return to Alexandria. Miriam is hesitant to believe he is back to just be part of the family and she is very right to have these doubts! Too soon, she learns that he wants his share of the family assets to build his own gladiator school. Miriam is shocked and horrified, fair enough as the brutality of these games is well-known and documented even now. She has even seen first hand the horrors when she visited her brother and a strong part of her wants nothing to do with the enslavement of people.
Things begin to take a turn for the worse after she denies her brother the money. A part of her wants to believe that he would never harm her or their loved ones but an even stronger part of her remembers the child and the man that he has become. Before she loses everything and her loved ones hurt, Miriam must discover who is behind the stealing and murders that have begun.
This is an excellent novel from start to finish, with great twists and turns. It is rich in history and culture with an amazing female lead - I did not want to put it down! It is a novel unlike any I have ever read before, which I loved. The ending was not what I expected but fits the novel perfectly. It is a definite must read novel for young adults and adults alike looking for a unique read.
The slaughter in the arena isn’t the only deadly sport.