A lost child in a deadly lottery . . .
A frightened child approaches Roman informer Marcus Didius Falco, pleading for help. Nobody believes Gaia's story that a relation wants to kill her - and neither does he. Beset by his own family troubles, by his new responsibilities as Procurator of the Sacred Poultry, and by the continuing search for a new partner, he turns her away. Immediately he regrets it. Gaia has been selected as the new Vestal Virgin, and when she disappears Falco is officially asked to investigate. Finding Gaia is then a race against time, ending in Falco's most terrifying exploit yet . . .
Praise for Lindsey Davis
'Lindsey Davis has seen off all her competitors to become the unassailable market leader in the 'crime in Ancient Rome' genre . . . Davis's squalid, vibrant Rome is as pleasurable as ever' - Guardian
'Davis's prose is a lively joy . . . sinister and gloriously real' - The Times on Sunday
'For fans of crime fiction set in the ancient world, this one is not to be missed' - Booklist
'Davis's books crackle with wit and knowledge . . . She has the happy knack of making the reader feel entirely immersed in Rome' - The Times