Vespasian is serving as a military officer on the outskirts of the Roman Empire, suppressing local troubles and defending the Roman way. But political events in Rome - Tiberius' increasingly insane debauchery, the escalating grain crisis - draw him back to the city. When Caligula becomes Emperor, Vespasian believes that things will improve. Instead, he watches his leader deteriorate from Rome's shining star to a blood-crazed, profligate madman. Lavish building projects, endless games, public displays of his incestuous relationship with his sister, Drusilla, and a terrified senate are as nothing to Caligula's most ambitious plan: to bridge the bay of Neapolis and ride over it wearing Alexander's breastplate. And it falls to Vespasian to make the long journey to Alexandria to steal the legendary armour. Vespasian's mission will lead to violence, mayhem and murder - and in the end, to a betrayal so great it will echo through the ages...