A tale of intrigues: political, religious, magical and romantic set in Ancient Rome at the end of the fourth Century AD. An atmosphere of fear & decay hangs around the capital. The Emperor, contemptuous of the city's history and families, uses violence to maintain control and extract wealth from the city, while the barbarian hordes mass on the empire's borders. A young poet, Decimus, escapes the grind of his family's farm and with his dissolute best friend, Symmachus, takes advantage of all the city's distractions. They meet the pagan, Theodorus, and the Nazarene, Theodosius and become embroiled in their murderous religious and political games. Meanwhile,Decimus falls in love with Theodosius' beautiful cousin, Placidia. To survive, Decimus must negotiate his way through these dangerous times. He finds himself having to choose between his friends and his love, his religion and the new faith. But how trustworthy are those he believes are his friends and is Placidia really the model of virtue she appears?