The sixth book in Richard Blake's brilliant series featuring Aelric, the six-century English adventurer, combines an expert's knowledge of the Roman world with intrigue, sex, black comedy and extreme violence. 615 AD. A vengeful Persian tyrant prepares the final blow that will annihilate the Byzantine Empire. Aelric of England - now the Lord Senator Alaric - is almost as powerful as the Emperor. Seemingly without opposition, he dominates the vast and morally bankrupt city of Constantinople. If, within his fortified palace, he revels in his books, his mood-altering substances, and the various delights of his serving girls and dancing boys, he alone is able to conceive and to push forward reforms that are the Empire's only hope of survival, and perhaps of restoration to wealth and greatness. But his domestic enemies are waiting for their moment to strike back. And the world's most terrifying military machine is assembling in secret beyond the mountains of the eastern frontier. What is the Horn of Babylon? Is it really accursed? Who is Antonia? What is Shahin, the bestial Persian admiral, doing on a ship within sight of the Imperial City? What exactly does Chosroes, the still more bestial Great King of Persia, want from Aelric? Is Rado a thuggish bed companion or a military genius? Will Priscus, the vile and disgraced former Commander of the East, get his place in the history books? Must it be written in Aelric's blood? In this sixth novel in the series, can Aelric rise to his greatest challenge yet - and find a personal happiness that has so far eluded him? Intrigue, sex, black comedy, spectacular crowd scenes and extreme violence - you will find it all here in luxuriant abundance.