Gaius Valerius Verrens is brought out of retirement and sent off to Antioch on the orders of the increasingly mad Emperor Nero. The Emperor fears that his rule may be threatened by General Gnaeus Domitus Corbulo, leader of the Imperial armies in the Eastern Meditteranean.
Is Corbulo about to march against Rome? Verrens is sent to investigate. He has the power of life and death over the popular leader.
On arrival, it quickly becomes clear that Verrens has no support within the army - everyone supports Corbulo. It makes his task of determining what should happen to Corbulo difficult. To make matters worse, Corbulo is attempting to deal with a major threat from the east - the Parthian King of Kings, Vologases, who is about to attack Rome's eastern border. If successful, Vologases could well overrun all of the eastern Mediterraean. Corbulo takes his army to war, accompanied by Valerius.
Verrens finds his task made even harder as he learns to admire and like Corbulo - but knows that he faces the wrath of Nero if he makes the wrong decision. Action packed and well written, Jackson really brings the key characters of Verrens and Corbulo to life. You feel as though you are in the midst of the fighting, living the life of an imperial Roman soldier on the eastern frontier.
It is a really good, solid, historical novel, written by an author who really knows his period. Worth reading.