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The spring of 98 AD is a time of optimism in the turbulent frontier province of Britannia. The season looks set fair for peace and prosperity and business is brisk at Aurelia Marcella’s inn on the road to York. Then a wagon arrives bearing a local farmer seeking treatment for a grievous sword wound. Before the farmer dies, he tells Aurelia his family is in grave danger and hints that her sister’s family, living near him, is threatened too. Aurelia sends for her twin brother Lucius, who is a government investigator. Together they head for the eastern coast to find out more, and to check out a shipwreck bearing valuable official cargo. A band piratical Gauls is working the area—are they cover for something worse? The aura of peace cracks further as friction between native farmers and Roman settlers over ownership of the best farmland turns to open violence. Both sides resort to terrorist tactics: stealing, kidnapping, and murder, all building to a terrible climax at the annual festival for the sea god. Underneath flows a current of subtle, personal agendas....

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