Rome 23 BCE
In the depths of serious illness, the Emperor Augustus is forced to rethink how he governs the city. He calls upon the most unlikely helper.
Lucius Sestius has made it through conspiracy and civil war and wants nothing more than to drink himself happy in the Italian countryside. Now he, the last of the Republicans, is invited to step up to public service. To Lucius’ consternation, he is catapulted into office just in time to deal with a pestilence sweeping through Italy. Thousands of people are dying and the River Tiber is riding dangerously high.
But Lucius is not just fighting floods and an epidemic. A conspiracy centred on the disgraced general Primus is threatening the Emperor, and Lucius is expected to choose a side. Lucius’ idyllic life on his family estate is overshadowed by a intrigues in which he wants no part but an act of kindness brings the wrath of the Emperor down upon him.
Redemption in the eyes of Augustus comes at a heavy price.