It's A.D. 79 on the slopes of Vesuvius. With no warning the mountain has erupted into violent, terrifying life. Those who can, flee, but one old man, Lucius Quintus Claudianus, sits in an abandoned villa in Herculaneum, struggling to write down a story only he can tell. Seventy years before, Lucius was the sole survivor of three Roman legions, ambushed and slaughtered in the wilds of Germania. Lucius's tale is of dark forests, evil swamps and horrific pagan sacrifices, but it is also the story of his friendship with Freya, a Cherusci warrior. As soldiers caught up in treachery and war, they must choose between their culture and their friendship. And it's a choice they have to get right, because the consequences of being wrong could mean death.