On the eve of the Roman festivities, the last thing you’d expect Claudia Seferius to be doing is heading out of the city. Unfortunately, even hedonistic young widows have to put business before pleasure when their vineyards are threatened with arson.
Taking a shortcut through the Umbrian countryside, she is forced off the road, and her beloved cat goes missing in the skirmish. Refusing to leave without her, Claudia accepts the hospitality of Sergius Pictor and the menagerie of wild animals he is training for the Games.
Then a stranger knocks at her bedroom door, with a knife sticking out of his belly.
And Claudia finds herself being framed for murder…
Five slave women have been murdered on Market Day, so it isn’t a safe time for Claudia to be chased by dogs into the darkest streets of Rome.
In the back alleys of the capital city, Claudia finds an abandoned boy, Jovi, and takes him home with her. A killer is stalking the streets, his victims linked by a tattoo that marks them as the "children of Arbil." But Arbil is no loving father--he is a baby-snatcher who runs a slave-rearing empire.
The death toll was rising...and not all the symptoms tallied with the plague...
A deadly contagion may have sent many of Rome’s wealthier citizens fleeing to the country, but for Claudia Seferius a plague is the least of her worries.
For she has “temporarily borrowed” 3,000 sesterces from local millionaire Sabbio Tullus. OK, so she’d had to break into his depository to get at it, but did he really need to set the army after her? Desperate to escape arrest, she seeks refuge in the beautiful spa resort of Atlantis.
Once there she meets the charming Cal, and a little flirting in tranquil surroundings seems an ideal way to pass the time. Except, within hours, Cal is dead. And he’s not the only one.
Pretty soon Claudia begins to wonder whether Atlantis isn’t far more dangerous than the disease-ridden streets she left behind...