The Emperor’s Servant
Rome 23 BCE
In the depths of serious illness, the Emperor Augustus is forced to rethink how he governs the city. He calls upon an unlikely helper, Lucius Sestius, once one of those who fought against Augustus. To Lucius’ consternation, he is catapulted into office just at a time when a pestilence is sweeping through Italy. Thousands of people are dying and the River Tiber is riding dangerously high.
But Lucius finds himself not only fighting floods and an epidemic. A conspiracy is forming, centered on Lucius’ friend Aulus and the respected Primus, hero of the war in Macedonia. The Emperor feels threatened and Lucius is expected to choose sides. When Aulus comes begging for help to escape Italy, Lucius cannot refuse.
It is a mistake that brings the Emperor’s wrath down on him and Lucius’ whole family pays a heavy price to redeem themselves in the eyes of Augustus.