A Novel of Ancient Rome
On the eve of Cicero’s inauguration as consul of Rome, a grisly discovery sends fear rippling through a city already racked by unrest. A young slave boy has been felled by a hammer, his throat slit and his organs removed, apparently as a human sacrifice. For Cicero, the ill omens of this hideous murder only increase his dangerous situation: elected leader by the people but despised by the heads of the two rival political camps. Caught in a shell game that leaves him forever putting out fires only to have them ignite elsewhere, Cicero plays for the future of the republic . . . and his life. There is a plot to assassinate him, abetted by a rising young star of the Roman senate named Gaius Julius Caesar—and it will take all the embattled consul’s wit, strength, and force of will to stop the plot and keep Rome from becoming a dictatorship.
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TWODAYS BEFORE the inauguration of Marcus Tullius Cicero as consul of Rome, the body of a child was pulled from the River Tiber, close to the boat sheds of the republican war fleet.
Such a discovery, though tragic, would not normally have warranted the attention of a consul-elect. But there was something so grotesque about this particular corpse, and so threatening to civic peace, that the magistrate responsible for keeping order in the city, Gaius Octavius, sent word to Cicero asking him to come at once.
Cicero at first was reluctant to go, pleading pressure of work. As the consular candidate who had topped the...see more
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