The great three-sided war continues, Rome against Persia against the tribes of the desert now commanded by Mohammed of Mekkah. The tide is turning against the Eastern Empire--the Emperor Heraclius lies bedridden in Constantinople and his brother Theodore has lost a great battle to the tribes. In the West, Rome lies devastated by the long-pent eruption of Vesuvius. And in the hidden valley of Damawand, the Persion sorcerer Dahak plots his revenge.
Among the lost are the Princess Shirin, vanished in the explosion of Vesuvius that wrought so much destruction, and Thyatis, still living but broken in mind and body. Her struggle will mirror the torment of the Empire, as it rebuilds its strength and purpose after so much destruction.
But there is hope for the West. Prince Maxian, horrified at being the cause of so many deaths, has come to realize that the Oath need not be broken; it can be changed by a skilled sorcerer. And in Judea, young Dwyrin is coming into his full powers, honed by sorcerous combat with his friend Odenathus, who now leads the shattered remnants of the army of Palmyra. And among the Goths north of the Danuvius, a new legion is being forged, by a very old general.
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