As commander of his brother Vicktor's armies, Valerian has had to do many things he didn't agree with. People fear him, but his fairness and sane temperament place him far above Vicktor in their eyes. Vicktor's resentment of Valerian's popularity has caused an ever-growing rift between the brothers.
Caught between their fraternal friction is a slave girl, Melena, who learns sometimes it is not so easy a thing to hold hatred in your heart. Her anger toward Valerian eases as his loving punishment and intense correction begin to break through her defensiveness.
But this connection works both ways. Melena has come to see she has power of her own to wield. Is she woman enough to guide Valerian into betraying his brother for the well-being of his country?