When Roman junior senator Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger has a chance to join a diplomatic mission to Alexandria, he welcomes the opportunity to temporarily elude his enemies in the Eternal City-even though it means leaving his beloved Rome. Decius is just beginning to enjoy the outpost's many exotic pleasures when the suspicious death of an irascible philosopher occurs, coinciding with the puzzling and apocalyptic ravings of a charismatic cult leader. Intrigued, Decius requests and is given permission by the Egyptian Pharaoh to investigate the heinous crime. What he discovers is beyond shocking. And when the corpse of a famous courtesan mysteriously turns up in his bed, Decius suddenly finds himself entangled in a web of conspiracy far more widespread and dangerous than he ever imagined-one that threatens to bring about the downfall of the entire Empire.