Valerius, hailed ‘Hero of Rome’ is not the man he once was – scarred both physically and emotionally by the battles he has fought. His sister is mortally ill, his father is in self-imposed exile. And Rome is not the city that he left. Nero grows increasingly paranoid. Those seeking power for themselves whisper darkly in the Emperor’s ears of a new threat within the walls of Rome – the sect of the followers of Christus, who deny Nero’s divinity and who are spreading sedition. Nero calls on Valerius to become the Defender of Rome – to seek out this rebel sect, to capture its leader Petrus. To fail will be to forfeit his life and the lives of twenty thousand Judeans living in Rome. But as Valerius begins his search, he will find that success may cost him as dearly as failure.