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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Book Review and Tour Giveaway: The Deadliest Sport by June Trop

The mystery and historical detail are interesting in this historical fiction.
The Deadliest Sport: A Miriam bat Isaac Mystery in Ancient Alexandria
by June Trop

File Size: 1363 KB
Print Length: 174 pages
Publisher: Black Opal Books (October 7, 2017)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
My Rating: 4.0 of 5.0

Miriam bat Isaac, a budding alchemist in first-century CE Alexandria, welcomes her twin brother Binyamin home to fight his last gladiatorial bout in Alexandria. But when he demands his share of the family money so he can build a school for gladiators in Alexandria, Miriam explains that he forsook his share when he took the gladiatorial oath. When she refuses to loan him the money for what she feels is a shady, and dangerous, enterprise, Binyamin becomes furious. Soon after, the will of Amram, Miriam’s elderly charge, turns up missing, Amram becomes seriously ill, and the clerk of the public records house is murdered. Could Binyamin really be behind this monstrous scheme? If not he, who could be responsible? And is Miriam slated to be the next victim?

Miriam bat Isaac is an industrious young woman in 1st Century Alexandria. She has helped her father's former business partner maintain the family business and make safe investments. She is hoping that her twin brother Binyamin will soon retire as a Gladiator and join the family business. Ben has just arrived home with his best friend, another gladiator who is brutish and suspected murderer. They are to participate in gladiator games in their home town.

Miriam doesn't approve of Ben's behavior and disrespect for their Jewish traditions. She soon learns that Ben has no inclination to join the family business. Instead he demands his inheritance so that he and his best friend can build a Ludus, a training facility for gladiators, in Alexandria.

When Miraima explains that he has no inheritance, Ben pressures her to convince her partner to invest in the project. A day or two after Ben's return, Miriam discovers her partner's will is missing and he has suddenly become quite ill. Then a former family employer is killed and certain facts lead Mirium to suspect her brother and his friend are involved.

I appreciated Miriam's independent nature but thought she was very foolish for going to the rougher side of the docks to investigate the missing will and the murder on her own. Even a past traumatice experinece in the streets doesn't make her use better sence. She also puts herself at great risk by confronting the men she believes are responsible for murder.

For the most part I liked the clear and detailed writing. However, there are some long, windy sentences and a portion of the story is delivered through a letter rather than action. I can't say that I was drawn in by the characters as there was a certain flatness in the story for me. Still, I liked the mystery and the historical detail which was remarkable. I recommend this to reader's who enjoy historical detail and a mystery plot.

I received this title through iRead Book Tours It also qualifies for a 2018 title in my Alphabet Challenge.

Content Rating: PG (mild religious oriented expletives, such as "Lord," some violent descriptions, such as the corpse, the gladiatorial arena)

To read reviews, please visit June Trop's page on iRead Book Tours.

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Meet the Author:

June Trop and her twin sister Gail wrote their first story, "The Steam Shavel [sic]," when they were six years old growing up in rural New Jersey. They sold it to their brother Everett for two cents.

"I don't remember how I spent my share," June says. "You could buy a fistful of candy for a penny in those days, but ever since then, I wanted to be a writer."

As an award-winning middle school science teacher, June used storytelling to capture her students' imagination and interest in scientific concepts. Years later as a professor of teacher education, she focused her research on the practical knowledge teachers construct and communicate through storytelling. Her first book, From Lesson Plans to Power Struggles (Corwin Press, 2009), is based on the stories new teachers told about their first classroom experiences.

Now associate professor emerita at the State University of New York at New Paltz, she devotes her time to writing The Miriam bat Isaac Mystery Series. Her heroine is based on the personage of Maria Hebrea, the legendary founder of Western alchemy, who developed the concepts and apparatus alchemists and chemists would use for 1500 years.

June lives with her husband Paul Zuckerman in New Paltz, where she is breathlessly recording her plucky heroine's next life-or-death exploit.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest

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