Fresh from his trip to Britain, Marcus Didius Falco needs to re-establish his presence in Rome. A minor role in the trial of a senator entangles him in the machinations of two real life lawyers at the top of their trade. The senator is convicted, but then dies, apparently by suicide. It may have been a legal move to protect his heirs, but Falco is hired to prove it was murder. As Falco shows off his talents in the role of advocate, he exposes himself to a tangle of upper-class secrets and powerful elements in Roman law that may have consequences he hadn't quite bargained for.