Third in a series of mild horror novels about Ragoczy Sanct' Germain Franciscus, an urbane vampire (Hotel Transylvania, The Palace) whose bloody love affairs are like raspberry syrup mixing with heavy cream. This is one of those novels you may very well read to the drippy end and then wake up wondering why you read it. We are back in Nero's Rome, and Sanct' Germain is already at least two thousand years old, still needing to keep dirt from Dacia (apparently Transylvania today) lining his bed and his shoes. Something of a dilettante pandering to the tastes of Petronius, Nero, and subsequent caesars over a five-year period, Sanct' Germain supplies the court with erotic dancers and his own divine harping as well as supplying the Circus Maximus with superb warriors and riders. He is befriended by three stalwarts: his physician Aumtehoutep; his sexy Armenian girl rider Tishtry; and the warrior son of deposed Persian prince Kosrozd--who dies as a man and is brought back to life as a vampire in order to save his life. Half-awake readers will know from the start that these folks will all wind up facing the bloody games in the arena at the novel's climax, and quite likely so will Sanct' Germain (and he does). Before that, however, he falls in love for the first time in centuries with beauteous Olivia, the brutalized wife of elderly Justus (who has had her raped by 350 rough gladiators over the years as he watches). The novel focuses on the insane novelties and bestiality of the arena counterpointed with scenes of pale rose eroticism--as Sanct' Germain is at last persuaded to make Olivia one of the undead. Surefire munchies for the vampiristically inclined.