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The Emperor’s Bloodlust (Part II): The show must go on!

Miriam recalls Claudius’s lust for blood when, in The Deadliest Hate, she finds herself in the hypogeum, the region of cages and cells below the arena:

Passing its lurid pockets of light, I dared to look through tightly barred grilles into the cages of the hundreds of beasts doomed to die: lions, tigers, and bears but also crocodiles, apes, zebras, ostriches, and hyenas, animals varied and novel enough to demonstrate the vastness and power of the Empire. In other chambers, I saw the winches, capstans, ropes, and pulleys the stage mechanics use to hoist the animals into the arena. Once, when the equipment failed, Claudius ordered those responsible for the malfunction to fight in the animals’ places.

What brings Miriam to this labyrinthine hell? And how does she manage to escape the assassins stalking her in the stadium? Keep reading. You’ll find out in Chapter 22 of The Deadliest Hate.

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