526 BC and the empire of the Pharaohs is dying, crumbling under the weight of its own antiquity. Corruption and decay cripple its cities, infects its leaders and cripples its armies, while across the great expanse of Sinai, like jackals drawn to carrion, the forces of the omnipotent king of Persia watch and wait...But all is not quite lost. For leading the fiight to preserve the soul of Egypt is the Phoenician warrior, Hasdrabal Barca, the pharaoh's deadliest killer - possessor of a rage few men can fathom and fewer can withstand. But the defection of one of Egypt's most celebrated generals, the Greek mercenary Phanes, to the Persians triggers a savage war that will test Barca's military skills and his humanity to the limit. But Barca is changing - a girl who was once a slave but with a gift for healing - tends to his wounds, and as she does so, eases his tortured soul and teaches him how to be truly human again. From the political wastelands of Palestine and the searing deserts east of the Nile to the streets of the ancient city of Memphis, Barca and Phanes play a desperate and brutal game of cat-and-mouse that culminates in the bloodiest battle of Egypt's history. In the dusty hills east of Pelusium, a reckoning will unfold, for there over the dead of two nations, Hasdrabal Barca will face the same choice of as those great heroes of old: death and eternal fame, or long life and obscurity...