The people of an ancient city awaken one night to find the earth beneath them trembling. At the Emperor's palace, though, the feasting goes on. Even as the omens multiply, the High Priest insists that the gods' favour can be bought as it always has been - with gold and ritual sacrifice. Only the Augur - fearless, ageless, a prophetess who was once the power behind the throne - can see what is coming. Around her, an unlikely resistance gathers: Saba and Aemilia, her two young acolytes, stolen from distant homelands long ago; Myloxenes, the truth-seeking son of the High Priest, in flight from his savage father; and Antonus, pain-wracked and exiled, raising his family far from the depravity of the Palace he once called home.