171 AD. Rome is at war with the northern tribes - and is yet to win a significant battle. The Germanic armies have crossed the Danube and have attacked the Empire, slaughtering thousands. The Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, is losing the support of the people and the Senate. Yet he has formed a plan he believes will change the balance of power in the region. Aurelius has dispatched an officer in the Praetorian Guard, the centurion Gaius Maximus, to escort the son and daughter of a powerful German tribal chief.
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Rome 174 AD. As the war continues in the north, Marcus Aurelius orders Gaius Maximus and Rufus Atticus to return to Rome. Enemies lurk in the shadows in the capital, spreading propaganda and sowing dissent. The praetorian guards must lure their enemies out - and defeat them. Yet Maximus is returning home for something, or rather someone, else: Aurelia. The soldier will be caught between his duty and his happiness. Rufus Atticus will also be forced to make a choice, between duty and family.
Britain. 179 AD. The centurion Rufus Atticus is intent on finding Gaius Maximus - a fugitive and friend. Whilst doing so, however, Atticus finds trouble - in the form of the brutal Meriadoc clan. The Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, wants to offer the former praetorian a pardon. Atticus also has important news for Maximus, which will change his life. But as well as offering the soldier a pardon, the Emperor has summoned Maximus to ask him to complete one final mission. He must venture into enemy territory and assassinate Balomar.