A falx (Latin) is a hand-held knife. Like a sickle but smaller, it has a curved blade with a sharp inner edge. A charioteer, standing upright in his chariot with the reins tied around his waist, carried one to cut the reins and keep from being dragged around the track in case of an accident. But in The Deadliest Thief, due for release in 2019, a falx or two was used to create a traffic jam. The lead bearer explains to Miriam how his litter was brought to a halt while bringing her best friend, Phoebe, home:
“We got trapped in the traffic. Maybe you heard about the commotion yesterday outside the West Gate.” The bearer took a deep swallow, followed by another. “Well, this big man—bullish shoulders, massive chest, and a neck like a tree trunk—crazy if you ask me—attacked a dray loaded with sacks of corn, probably headed for the grain bins near the harbor. He lunged at the sacks with his falx, like a charioteer desperate to cut his reins. Come to think of it, he had two of those curved blades, one in each fist attacking the sacks one after the other with this most horrible yell until the pavement was carpeted with grain and women from everywhere—and some men too—were kneeling down, making scoops of their hands, grain spilling between their fingers, gathering all they could carry in their skirts and then in their capes and himations.”
Was that tree-truck-of-a-man crazy? Why else would he attack the sacks of corn? That’s the question that baffles Miriam. Fortunately, you don’t have to wait baffled. Just grab any Miriam bat Isaac Mystery, and before you know it, The Deadliest Thief will be out. If you absolutely cannot wait, then go to the HOME page of this website, and click on “Coming Next: The Deadliest Thief” to read an excerpt.