Early autumn 105 AD. As the clouds of war gather on the Danube frontier, Marcus, retired veteran of the 2nd Batavian auxiliary cohort faces a renewed and catastrophic threat to his family and his farm on the isle of Vectis. Powerful, vengeful forces and a dangerous, resourceful opponent are stalking his family home, intent on taking it from him. Forced onto the run to protect a secret that his enemies wish to use against him, Marcus heads for Rome where he hopes to set matters right. But amongst the crime infested slums of the city and the magnificence and splendour of the Roman colosseum he will discover a different, unexpected path, one that will set him on the road to the very heart of absolute imperial power.
Spring 106 AD. Upper Pannonia. As the winter snows finally recede, Fergus, Marcus’s son and Corbulo’s grandson, now a junior officer in the Twentieth Legion, prepares to take part in Emperor Trajan’s Dacian war. As the Legions are ordered across the Danube frontier and into Dacia, the vexillation from the Twentieth will find itself at the sharp end of the war. Faced with fierce and desperate resistance, Fergus and his comrades must fight for their lives and the honour of their legionary banners. And as the Roman army advances deeper into the Dacian heartlands, Fergus’s skill and courage, fighting in the wild Dacian forests and beneath the walls of the lofty, impregnable Dacian mountain fortresses, will not go unnoticed by powerful, ambitious parties back in the empire.