What A Difference!
The painting depicted here is of Michael Sendivogius demonstrating the transmutation of a base metal into gold before the King of Poland. Sendivogius (1566—1636) was a Polish alchemist, philosopher, and physician famous for recognizing air as a combination of gases, one of them being the life-giving substance we know now as oxygen. Unlike Miriam bat Isaac who was forced to practice her art in secret under threat of death, Sendivogius achieved great fame. The Polish king himself was an enthusiastic alchemist who conducted experiments with Sendivogius and helped finance his studies until the cost of the Thirty Years War (1617—48) effectively ended the Golden Age of Alchemy.
Indeed, in The Deadliest Hate, Miriam is afraid her friends in the Alchemical League could be in great danger:
As a Roman citizen, I could at least appeal to Claudius for the right to defend myself in a proper trial. After that, the worst I could face would be a presumably painless death by beheading. But the others, being non-citizens, would be summarily crucified. Like the vilest of criminals, they’d be left to hang outside the city gates to suffer the summum supplicium, the most extreme punishment, after which there could be no burial, no lamentations, no peace, only their wandering souls, the buzz of blue-green flies, and a jackal’s marks on their scattered bones to serve as an appalling warning to others.
That’s why Miriam needs your help in The Deadliest Hate to trace the leak of an alchemical secret while at the same time, evade being hunted by assassins. Click here to watch the book trailer.