Respected author of other historical novels including The Glorious Conspiracy (1961, 795 (J-271), Miss Williamson now goes back in time to 510 A.D. and moves forward to the reign of Justinian. The focus is always on her hero, Marcus, who leaves Rome as a patrician at the age of fifteen, and after a chain of rugged misfortune and adventure, returns a strong, humble man, ready to establish himself in a trade. Extensive research is evidenced by the careful detailing of the prevailing philosophy, customs, and clothing of the period. The spreading power of Christianity in the heathen communities is always in the background, sometimes in the foreground-- when Marcus is involved. Worthwhile historical fiction, it should prove to be fascinating for readers with or without a good background in the period.