An action-packed tale set in the late Roman Empire. The African general Septimius Severus has emerged as emperor from the recent civil wars, and plans in due course to bequeath power to his brutal and perverted sons Antoninus (now known to us as Caracalla) and Geta. Meanwhile all three have to contend with the ambitious schemes of the second most powerful man in Rome, Praetorian prefect Fulvius Plautianus.
Against the background of this luxurious but unstable society we follow the lives and loves of half a dozen young people: Gaius Lucilius, a lazy and easy-going young lawyer, and his feisty sister Lucilia: her former husband Crispus Soter and his sister, the spoiled Aemilia Secunda: Aemilia’s lesbian lover Flavia Rufina, and the enigmatic Marcus, a visitor to Rome from the north. The violence never far below the surface in the imperial city costs one of them his life, and the story culminates in a violent climax as two others face death as reluctant gladiators in the Flavian Amphitheatre.
A story capturing the glamour, drama, corruption and decadence of the last days of imperial Rome, relieved by the occasional touch of sardonic humour.