Here's the opening of my novel. Would love whatever comments you might have:
Prague – March 1587
It began as a distant murmur.
For a time, it sounded like wind-driven rain and then, like a swarm of bees. As it drew closer, it became more distinct and soon there could be no mistaking it. Voices. Human voices. Angry human voices. Their words were unintelligible, but their intention was not.
The mob finally came into view when it crested the hill and began its descent down the narrow lane toward the market square.
Father Thaddeus led the unruly horde. They rumbled past ramshackle houses, waving pikes and clubs and, as they squeezed past shops and homes, they smashed doors and pitched torches through windows.
In the market, panicked vendors abandoned their carts. They grabbed what they could and scattered into side alleys.
A woman fled a blazing house, clutching a baby. A boy, clasping his skullcap to prevent it from falling, ran in her wake. As he leapt over a puddle, he slipped and fell. When his mother stopped to help him up, they were pummelled with rocks and dung.
Just then, Rabbi Loevy stepped into the street. He halted, then turned to face the murderous throng.
The mob faltered, taken aback by the audacity of this old man and, in that brief hiatus, the mother and her children scurried for shelter.
“Leave us in peace,” the Rabbi said. “We do you no harm.”
Thaddeus laughed. “Liar! Blasphemer! Son of Satan!” To his followers, he added, “They are all children of Satan! Deceivers every one! Murderers of Christ!”
The mob roared. They threw rocks and other debris as they advanced once again.
A stone clipped the Rabbi’s brow, opening a gash. An egg splattered on his chest. But he did not retreat. He whispered a single word. “Joseph.”