THE DEADLIEST FEVER—just released by Black Opal Books—is about a jewel heist, an audacious theft from the Temple of Artemis, just outside the city of Ephesus. Nathaniel ben Ruben, a potbellied dwarf who has been Miriam’s friend since THE DEADLIEST HATE, was in Ephesus at the time and explains why the theft must have occurred during the Festival of Artemis:
A priest carries this statue of Artemis through the city to her Temple in a park about a mile outside the city. Acolytes with other sacred objects follow in a parade of torches, baskets of incense, horses, dogs, and hunting equipment. But then comes the best part, what every tourist and resident is there to behold: The girls, virginal but splendidly dressed to attract a lover, are followed by all the young men. Once the tail of the parade reaches the park, the whole crowd enters the Temple for a sacrifice, and then the mingling begins, men with the women, boys with the girls.
The wealth of Ephesus, including its gold and jewels, has been stored in the Temple treasury for hundreds of years. But during the parade, for a brief period anyway, the Temple is deserted. Now some time after the men and women had begun to circulate—by then most of the tourists had left—the priests went to put away the sacred objects. That’s when they discovered the lock to the treasury had been smashed.
But what happens to the thieves when their ship reaches Alexandria? And can Miriam find a connection among the heist, the death of a sea captain, and the curious defacing of the Torah mantle in the Great Synagogue? Not unless you help her. Even so, she’ll depend on the clue in the bite of a rabid bat. Click here to find out more.