In ancient Rome, ambitious citizens who aspired to political power, to become one of the ruling elite—a senator, had to follow what was known as "The Course of Honor." This course had only one unbreakable rule: a senator is forbidden to marry a slave, even a freed slave. When the soldier Vespasian meets an interesting girl in the imperial palace, he doesn't know she is a slave in the household of the imperial family. But he is inexorably drawn in by her intelligence and charisma. Yet as Vespasian slowly rises from near-obscurity and as emperor after emperor plays out their own deadly, seductive games of lust and conquest, the future is something no one could imagine. No one could believe that a country-born army man might win the throne—no one, that is, except a slave girl who, with the future Emperor, begins a daring course of honor of her own.
Whatever was that?
The young man arrested his stride. He halted. At his shoulder his brother drew up equally amazed. An incongruous scent was beckoning them. They both sniffed the air.
Praise for The Course of Honour
“As presented in this intricate braiding of character and action, fact and imagination, these two strong characters ... deserve to take their place in the pantheon of the world's great lovers.” —Publishers Weekly
“Davis's vision of everyday life in the roman empire is superb. I haven't read historical fiction this good since I, Claudius by Robert Graves.” —Detroit Free Press
“Davis makes Rome live.” —The Washington Post-