Another installment in the story of Gaius Valerius Verrens. Having become a hero of Rome, Verrens is struggling to cope with life in the capital. Despite trying to keep his distance from the mad emperor Nero; he finds it impossible to avoid Nero’s command to become a Defender of Rome.
Ordered to seek out the leader of the Christians who are gaining popularity within Rome, Verrens finds himself in a very difficult position. The person he is ordered to find has actually saved his sister’s life – does he give him up or not? And what of Nero’s threat to condemn every Judean in the capital – and Verrens himself – to the executioners if Verrens does not obey? Verrens has difficult choices to make.
At times the action falters, as Verrens gets sent off to remote parts of the empire leaving the reader wondering just what has happened to the main plot line. As a portrayal of a man under terrible stress and in a position of great difficulty, this is an interesting book.