AD 71. Germania Libera: dark dripping forests, inhabited by bloodthirsty barbarians and legendary wild beasts, a furious prophetess who terrorises Rome, and the ghostly spirits of slaughtered Roman legionaries.
Enter Marcus Didius Falco, an Imperial agent on a special mission: to find the absconding commander of a legion whose loyalty is suspect. Easier said than done, thinks Marcus, as he makes his uneasy way down the Rhenus, trying to forget that back in sunny Rome his girlfriend Helena Justina is being hotly pursued by Titus Caesar. His mood is not improved when he discovers his only allies are a woefully inadequate bunch of recruits, their embittered centurion, a rogue dog, and its innocent young master; just the right kind of support for an agent unwillingly trying to tame the Celtic hordes.
In A.D. 71, the Emperor Vespasian sends his reluctant agent Marcus Didius Falco to Germany to bring a rebel chieftain into line and to find a missing legate whose battle-worn legion had surrendered him to a druidic sorceress. In his fourth appearance, after Venus in Copper , the worldly-wise, ever - entertaining Falco journeys up the river Rhenus, encountering hardships and danger, including murder, and resolving puzzles of politics and commerce. In Roman Germany, Falco's military experience in Gaul and his knowledge of historic Gallic battles will help him deal with fort intrigues and the mysterious ways of the forest tribes. His travails in Upper Germany are as much physical as cerebral; indeed, he saves his company from a wild aurochs in a last-ditch leap that recalls ancient Greek bull-dancing practices. Accompanied in part by his lover, the high-born Helena Justina (who has caught the eye of Vespasian's son Titus), and aided by her brother Camillus Justinus, an untried but courageous young officer, Falco stays alive, accomplishes the Emperor's mission and holds on to his girl--feats as accomplished as Davis's seamless blending of humor, history and adventure.