In the palace f Nineveh, Tiglath Ashur and Esarhaddon are half brothers, best friends, rivals for women – and the throne. The third part of the fateful triangle is Esharhamat, wilful, exquisite, lover and wife to the heir – whoever he may be. Her existence poisons the brotherly love until their increasing rancour threatens the very existence of the Assyrian empire. Esarhaddon is a warrior – plain and simple, shallow and nothing more. Tiglath is his equal in war and can be a brutal killer if necessary but he is also an intellectual, torn by doubts and qualms of conscience, temperamentally unable to challenge his brother and the priests, but known his own fate and that of Assyria hangs in the balance.