A major new historical epic in the tradition of Conn Iggulden combines impeccable research and historical detailing with the power and pace of a great thriller
As a young slave, Rufus grows up far from the corruption of Caligula’s imperial court where excess, huge building projects, the largest gladiatorial battles Rome was ever to see—men and animals killed in the hundreds—conspiracies, assassination attempts, and sexual scandal were the norm. But when Rufus’ growing reputation as an animal trainer and his friendship with Cupido, one of Rome’s greatest gladiators, attract the cruel gaze of the Emperor, Rufus is bought from his master and taken to the imperial palace as the keeper of the imperial elephant. Rufus soon sees that life here is dictated by Caligula’s ever shifting moods—he is as generous as he is cruel and he is a megalomaniac who declares himself a living god who simultaneously lives in constant fear of the plots against his life. But Caligula’s paranoia is not misplaced, and Rufus and Cupido find themselves unwittingly placed at the center of a conspiracy to assassinate the Emperor.