by Michael J. Reamy
A year past the midpoint of his reign, Tiberius withdraws from Rome and, in spite of living another 11 years, never returns. Why would the ruler of the Mediterranean world abandon the seat of his power, the most resplendent and cosmopolitan city of the time, in exchange for seclusion on the small island of Capri off the Italian coast? In A.D. 24, a young noblewoman dies under mysterious circumstances. Lucius Calpurnius Piso, a close friend of Tiberius, is charged with uncovering the truth. His investigation touches upon the illegal practice of magic, rivalries among the nobility, the idealism of a young woman, and the interaction between individuals of different social classes. Interwoven in the story are the complicated relationships he shares with members of his own family. Piso uncovers a conspiracy. He also acquires an awareness of the corrosive effect ‘the burdens of empire’ are having upon Tiberius’ personality and of a sinister force exploiting that corrosion. The story intertwines public affairs of state with personal, intimate relationships in a vivid portrayal of the political and social context of the time.