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The Romans perfected firing clay bricks during Miriam’s time, the first-century CE. Previously, the only kind of bricks were mudbricks dried by the sun.

Miriam describes a neighborhood of mudbrick tenements in THE DEADLIEST LIE:

Rows of shoddy, sun-scoured, mudbrick tenements jammed together with hardly a slice of sky between them. Pigeons roosted above their listing doorways, squirting excrement on their crumbling lintels while their shutters stayed latched against the smell of sewage, the buzz of flies, and the dramas of the night. There I found myself picking my way around the potholes, rubble, and clumps of prickly weeds. Or sidling around a tree limb torn loose by the wind. Or pressing myself against a crumbling wall of mudbricks that was the facade of a tenement. Or dodging rubbish as it was thrown out of an upper story window. Or worse yet, getting splattered by the contents of a chamber pot.

In the affluent neighborhoods, the homes were built of limestone, granite, and marble. Their pitched roofs were tiled, their porticoes decorated with ornamental lamp stands, their gardens carpeted with rose petals, and their grand entrances perfumed with baskets of spices. Their columned entrances were adorned with carved architraves imported from Libya and Asia, their citron-scented gardens were filled with whimsical statuary, and their manicured lawns stretched behind walls of box and clipped rosemary.

Let Miriam take you through all the neighborhoods, the splendid and the squalid, in THE DEADLIEST LIE as she searches for a set of high-stakes documents that could get the man she loves killed. Just click here.

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