Up the Robert Graves' alley, but not so far nor so good. Good scholarship is evidenced in the detail of Roman life under Domitian, and against this background of decadence is told the story of a marriage between an idle, egocentric, braggart patrician, and Annia, wholesome, practical descendant of slaves. After troubled and tragic days, in which Decimus falls victim to the Roman system and Annia is jailed and freed only through the friendship of a jockey and of a gladiator. Annia discovers the right man for her. Vivid purpling of degeneracy of the period, the pollution of politics and the collapse of the nobility, gives this an historical scandal appeal which takes it out of the literary snob appeal classification of the Graves' market.