AD 68. The tyrant emperor Nero has no son and no heir.
Suddenly there's the very real possibility that Rome might become a republic once more. But the ambitions of a few are about to bring corruption, chaos and untold bloodshed to the many.
Among them is a hero of the campaign against Boudicca, Aulus Caecina Severus. Caught up in a conspiracy to overthrow Caesar's dynasty, he commits treason, raises a rebellion, faces torture and intrigue - all supposedly for the good of Rome. The boundary between the good of Rome and self preservation is far from clear, and keeping to the dangerous path he's chosen requires all Severus' skills as a cunning soldier and increasingly deft politician.
And so Severus looks back on the dark and dangerous time history knows as the Year of the Four Emperors, and the part he played - for good or ill - in plunging the mighty Roman empire into anarchy and civil war...