AAt the edge of the Judaean Desert, bandits are menacing the stability of the kingdom of Herod the Great. Alarmed at the unsteadiness of its aging ally and the threat to the security of its gateway to the East, Rome dispatches Tribune Ulpius Crus and a single cohort of the Twenty-fifth Legion to the Judaean wasteland. The tribune asks Centurion Quintus Flavius Rufio to lead the cohort with him to Judaea to establish a temporary Roman presence as a deterrent near the edge of the Salt Sea. Veteran of eastern campaigns, Rufio recognizes that the threat of bandits is an illusion and that Rome faces a far superior danger. He must quickly train his foot soldiers to take to the saddle, for now they challenge a brilliant commander leading a force of the finest horsemen on earth. On the outcome of this confrontation depend the existence of Judaea and the credibility and primacy of Rome.