AD 72. Titus Flavius Vespasianus, known as Vespasian, is Emperor of Rome - but his grip on power is weakening. Economic disaster threatens the city - and when Rome is threatened, so too is the Empire.
Recently married and building a new home, Gaius Valerius Verrens thought he'd at last found a life away from the battlefield. But he is summoned by the Emperor to do one last favour for Rome: he must journey to the remote, mountainous region of Asturica Augusta and investigate claims that a bandit called `The Ghost' is raiding the Empire's gold convoys.
When Valerius arrives, he finds a tortured, gods-forsaken land whose native tribes, exploited for so long, are a growing threat. But treachery lurks in the shadows, and it seems the real danger comes from those closer to him.
Valerius must put an end to a conspiracy that would plunge the Empire into a devastating new conflict - but first he must establish who is a friend, and who a foe . . .
A journalist by profession, Douglas Jackson transformed a lifelong fascination for Rome and the Romans in to his first two highly-praised novels, Caligula and Claudius. His third, Hero of Rome, introduced readers to a new series hero, Gaius Valerius Verrens. Seven further novels featuring Valerius have followed - the most recent being Glory of Rome - and have won critical acclaim and confirm their author as one of the UK's foremost historical novelists. An active member of the Historical Writers Association and the Historical Novel Society, Douglas Jackson lives near Stirling in Scotland.