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Trouble surfaces quickly in THE DEADLIEST FEVER when the Torah mantle in Alexandria’s Great Synagogue, set with King Solomon’s priceless jewels, is vandalized. Gershon blames the night watchman, Daniel.

“He’s a hayseed. Take away his twang, and he’s still a hayseed. He came with a letter from some rabbi or other in Capernaum, no one I’ve ever heard of. Anyway, you get a quick smile from this Daniel, but that’s about it, a smile. I say, ‘Send him back to Capernaum, where he belongs, where I wish he’d stayed.’”

But Amram disagrees as he relates Daniel’s origins to the new rabbi. “He’s the son of a tenant farmer from a once-proud family of olive growers along the Sea of Galilee. They, like a lot of our brethren, have had to sell off the land they’ve owned for generations just to stay solvent.”

Rabbi Ehud sympathizes. “Oh yes, the new economy, a disaster for our peasants. No longer self-sufficient on their small, family-owned farms, bartering their surplus for the little else they need, they’ve suddenly had to subsist in a money-based economy.”

Hardly the point, really. But Gershon is right on one count. Daniel is a hayseed by Alexandrian standards. But how can you compare a village of a mere 1500 souls to the intellectual and cultural central of the ancient world?

Before the issue of Daniel’s competency is resolved and the culprit responsible for defacing the mantle is found, a hard-breathing sea captain will be murdered, and another will die of the deadliest fever. Don’t miss a minute of the action. Start here with a click.

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