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The stoas in Alexandria’s first-century CE agora were constructed to resemble those in the agoras of Ancient Greece. Let’s join Miriam in THE DEADLIEST SPORT as she approaches the stoa in which Judah has his stall. She has reason to be anxious. After all, he is the unrequited love of her life. So, she is anxious about whether he could care for her. He certainly shows no sign. (Well, let’s just say he hasn’t given her any encouragement.) But this time she is immersed in a problem, and she needs his help.

Breathless with desire as I fantasized about lying next to him on tousled sheets, I was so engrossed in re-living that dream-like stage of our relationship that I hardly remembered clipping past the Way’s statues and temples, barrows and booths, colonnades and arcades until I was roused by a rush of pigeons as I turned north onto the Street of the Soma. Once I caught sight of its sun-bleached rooftops angling toward the agora like a row of broken teeth, my thoughts snapped back to the problem at hand…. By the time I reached the agora, my underarms were sticky with dread. Jostled by shoppers through the crush of commerce, the clamor of craftsmen, and the harangue of hucksters, I nudged my way around the moneychangers’ tables and the other portable businesses that clog the agora until I found myself at Judah’s stoa, one of the long, low porticoed buildings that faces the central plaza. Feigning an interest in the wares of a tinker’s stall to check my appearance in the shine of his pots, I then dawdled for some moments behind a stack of Oriental carpets to brush spangles of dust from my himation, pinch color into my cheeks, and calm the hammer in my chest.

Of course, we know Judah will help her. What we don’t know is that Miriam’s problem will lead us to a life-or-death struggle, and I’m sorry to say, the emphasis this time will be on death. Click here to check out the book trailer for THE DEADLIEST SPORT.

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