*A murder story set in Rome of Nero's time rates first as good story telling, second as an exciting, fresh approach to ancient history. A vigorous, almost colloquial picture of violent and fretful times,- the issues, the sports, the fashions, the government, the people, the city itself, the early Nazarenes, not yet an organized religion -- all this serves as authentic background to the mystery of the murder of a Senator, in front of a despised Christian's house. The young soldier who found the body was convinced that the murderer was a member of this new sect, until in meeting Marcia, his conviction was shaken. But already he had become involved in a scandal which opened his eyes to the rotten heart of Nero's Rome, and the solution of the murder forced him to flee with Marcia. Good story-telling -- and an excellent suggestion for supplementary reading in ancient history.