This novel, writing by the author of several non-fictional accounts of Mediterranean civilization (The House at the Double Axel. Is the story of Galla Placidia--a Roman Empress and Gothie Queen in the fifth century, A.D. The events of her tumultuous life as a faithful Christian and lent. Roman are told autobiographically by the powerful woman herself and biographically by her servants. Daughter of Theodosius the Great, twice a widow-- first, of a pagan Visigethic king, then of a Roman lord she never lover--prisoner, exile, and eventually Empress and Regent of Rome--she has a hand in each political and religious crisis of the time, an all important one for the declining Empire, over most of which she had lived. When she dies it is her son by the second marriage who is ruling Rome under her counsel. The history is there, but in a somewhat debilitated form--a woman's story and viewpoint whose abundant detail is probably most suited for feminine readers.