This is the second novel in the mystery series featuring Marcus Didius Falco, an informer and sleuth. A series of books that have become hugely popular, so much so that the author is now at the forefront of historical mystery writers. It was probably a stroke of genius on her part to have novels that are extremely well researched and contain all the elements that would be and should be found in Rome in AD70, but to have a lead character who has the vocabulary of a present day New York cop.
In this novel the hero Marcus Didius Falco has returned from the remote island of Britannia, a god forsaken place whose people are morose and surly and the weather, well the weather is best left to its own devices. Marcus has lost his heart to senator's daughter Helena but is not sure that the passion he feels is reciprocated. Why is that women he is not interested in, fall over themselves to get to him, but the one that he has lost his heart to, treats him with a cool disdain?
He has not long returned to the welcoming arms of Rome before a series of fatal accidents and things that go bump in the night convince Falco and the Emperor that there are traitors still conspiring and they must be brought to book. Falco is not happy, it seems he must leave his beloved Rome yet again, but the conspirators are serious about their plans and will not let anyone stand in their way. Will Falco ever return . . .