If Carthage had won the Second Punic War, would it have treated the Romans to the same burnt buildings and genocide it received? Or would a different empire have arisen from the culture that invented the alphabet, advanced mathematics, and ruled the oceans?
Two and a half centuries later, a more benevolent civilization burgeons into an industrial society encompassing Europe and half of Africa. But it also brings a different set of faults and failings.
In the first storyline, we meet Lt. Rakharbal al’Gadriel, a senator’s son in the oligarchic empire of Qart Hadasht, chafing to prove himself in a society that glorifies title over achievement. The frustrated officer’s first chance to show his worth is a disappointing appointment to the empire’s western fringe, far from any action. But is it a punishment, or a proving ground?
Rakh al’Gadriel completes his officer training but makes an enemy of an instructor, sees how messy and human the system really is, and receives a strange assignment.
Lt. Marshall Al’Gadriel arrives in Eiru and impresses the locals through their attempts to test him, but a horrible crime occurs in the least likely place.