In what would be A.D. 600 in our history, the Empire still stands, supported by the Legions and Thaumaturges of Rome. Now the Emperor of the West, the Augustus Galen Atreus, will come to the aid of the Emperor of the East, the Augustus Heraclius, to lift the siege of Constantinople and carry a... Expand great war to the very doorstep of the Shahanshah of Persia. It is a war that will be fought with armies both conventional and magical, with bright swords and the darkest necromancy.Against this richly detailed canvas of alternate history and military strategy, Thomas Harlan sets the intricate and moving stories of four people. Dwyrin MacDonald is a Hibernian student at a school for sorcerers in Upper Egypt, until he runs afoul of powerful political interests and is sent off half-trained to the Legions. His teacher, Ahmet, undertakes to follow Dwyrin and aid him -- but Ahmet is drawn into service with the queen of Palmeyra. Thyatis is a young female warrior, extensively trained by her patron in the arts of covert warfare. And Maxian Atreus is Galen's youngest brother, a physician and sorcerer. He has discovered that an enemy of Rome has placed a dreadful curse on the City, which must be broken before Rome can triumph.