Hermogenes is a young Greek from Alexandria, heir to a noble and vibrant society. But in his youth Hermogenes and his family were held captive to the whims of the queen Cleopatra, whose machinations spelled doom for an entire nation--whose schemes for empire caused the might of Rome to conquer his people. While the citizens of Rome may ape Hellenic ways, the Alexandrian Greeks are viewed as less than human because they are not of Rome.
But a man may win the coveted citizenship in more ways than birth on Roman soil. When Hermogenes father is granted such a boon, it appears as if his family has found favor from the gods--except then a business deal goes sour and Hermogenes father dies at sea. It is left to Hermogenes to reclaim all monies owed to the family... including a debt from a very well connected Roman consul who has reneged on his obligations and refuses to deal with "Greek trash."
Hermogenes will travel to Rome to reclaim what he is owed and finds it is no simple matter. Along the way, he will encounter base desire and power struggles, plots within plots... and a beautiful woman gladiator who is more than she seems. His life is in danger, and ultimately Hermogenes is left with the question:
Can the conferring of a title make one truly Roman? And if not, how far will a man go to satisfy honor?