A globalizing Rome has taken nations and tribes by force, and the loss of national and tribal identity leaves people adrift in an indifferent empire. To whom does one belong? Family? Gods? The State? What’s a person to do? An aging widow sends her former slave across the sea to fetch her granddaughter. A silver merchant dispatches his son on a trading journey to cities where Jews and Christians are pulling apart from each other. The Jews find themselves without their centralizing Temple and the Christians without their Son of God. Fatalists trust to the stars; Stoics and Epicureans to themselves. The two young people cross paths, bringing down the worlds of their parents and ultimately testing the wisdom of the man whom Rome calls Son of God—the emperor, Trajan.
Elegant, fast-paced. Its large cast of characters pulsates with life, inspiring the reader to meditate on the corruptions of power and the devastating consequences of military and religious warfare.
—Herbert Leibowitz, Editor, Parnassus: Poetry in Review
With unobtrusive authority and deft skill Zane Kotker achieves the astonishing feat of making the richly various Mediterranean peoples of the year 100 AD as familiar to us as our neighbors.
—Roger King, author of Love and Fatigue in America
We come to love [her characters] in all their complexity and confusion, hoping along with them for a better world. This story will stay with you.
—Susanne Dunlap, author of The Musician’s Daughter