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How would YOU look if, like the first-century CE bronze ring key pictured here, you were recently un

These four views show its right-angled tip and thick pins.

In addition to a personalized signet ring, Roman men, since they had no pockets in their clothing, sometimes wore the key to their strongbox as a finger ring. In Chapter 10 of THE DEADLIEST HATE (scheduled for release in September), Miriam attempts to “borrow” her host’s ring key so she can break into and rummage through his study. She knows he must have a ring key—he’s highly secretive, even paranoiac by today’s standards—but he’s not wearing it. In the process, she encounters a surprise.

Take a look:

So where does he keep the ring key for his study? My eyes scanned the atrium for a hiding place: the bench, the dimly lit pool, and the urns. Fleshy blooms all over. In every jug and vase. Except the two antique urns.

I lifted the lid and thrust my arm inside one of them. My hand stirred something dry, scaly, reptilian. Yikes! I sprang back as if I’d touched Vulcan’s forge. Maybe the other urn. I looked inside. Too dim. Biting my lip, taking a deep breath, reaching inside, this time gingerly, my fingers inched to the cool bottom. And there it was. Something hard. Metal. An L-shaped shaft with a hook on the end, a latch lifter attached to a ring sized for a man. A moment later, I had the key in my hand and was poking the shaft through the hole in one of the doors to lift the latch.

But don’t leave Miriam in the lurch for a single minute! Follow her in THE DEADLIEST HATE. In fact, get a head start. Just click on the pages COMING SOON and EXCERPTS. And then meet her and the coppery-red Egyptian cobra in Caesarea.

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