The present day but a very different one to the world we know ... The Roman Empire stretches across the Atlantic and far into Asia, yet it is an unstable time.
Strange fires burn out of control; the Emperor falls suddenly ill, and a massacre in the shadow of the Great Wall of Terranova brings the world to the brink of a global war.
At this critical time, three years after a conspiracy against his life forced him into hiding, the young heir to the throne Marcus Novius must take command of the greatest power on Earth.
But his ambitious cousin Drusus - spurred on by a riddling Sybilline prophecy - threatens this last chance to avoid a world conflict, and Una, a former slave whose love for Marcus seems out of place at the Roman court, is drawn into the political intrigue and a dangerous enmity.
Though many of Marcus' friends and supporters are scattered, he can rely on the driven, sharp-witted Una, her idealistic brother Sulien, now working to relieve the suffering of slaves, and Varius, wounded and disillusioned by the past but still committed to the vision of a better Rome.
But even these three will find their lives at risk and their loyalties tested, as they encounter unforeseen conflicts and the manoeuvrings of shadowy forces. Both within the Empire and far beyond its borders, simmering tensions are starting to reach boiling point ...