This eagerly awaited fifth book in John Maddox Roberts's Edgar-nominated historical mystery series once again takes the reader back to the Rome of Julius Caesar and the Roman Senator Decius Caecilius Metellus the Younger. Decius has won himself a reputation as both an investigator and, most unfortunately, a bit of a playboy. Having been banished by his family for sometimes embarrassing activities to a rather leisurely lifestyle on Rhodes, he is puzzled to be suddenly and unexpectedly summoned home to assist in an investigation.
Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer, a relative of Decius and his family and the head of a powerful political clan, has been poisoned, and his infamous wife Clodia is immediately suspected of disposing of her rather inconvenient husband. Not entirely convinced of Clodia's guilt, Decius delves into the intricacies of Rome's ruling class and discovers that a clandestine, forbidden witches' cult is inextricably intertwined with some very highborn people. A trial for Clodia would be most unwelcome, as it could bring to light some well-kept secrets. To get to the bottom of the corruption that accompanies the intoxicating allure of this ancient city, Decius must form an uneasy alliance with Clodius, Clodia's brother and his sworn enemy, and be extremely careful not to step on any toes.