The year is 77 A.D. On the frontier of the Roman Empire, a Dacian man named Verus is captured and enslaved during an imperial raid north of the Danube. He is sent to a rock quarry known as The Pit, as one among thousands of fresh slaves needed to mine marble for Emperor Vespasian’s new amphitheatre. Funded by spoils taken during the Siege of Jerusalem, the Emperor promises it will be the largest gladiatorial arena ever; his personal gift to the people of Rome. Requiring years of herculean labour and millions of cubic feet in stone, Vespasian’s son, Titus, worries whether his father will live to see its completion.
After months of back-breaking suffering and toil, Verus is taken from The Pit to become a gladiator. Whether by chance or fate, he knows that only by making a pact with death will he have a chance at life. In a savage world of blood, sweat, sand, and steel, his very soul is forged, until he no longer remembers the man he once was. As the Flavian Amphitheatre nears completion, with the possibility of fighting before the Emperor himself, Verus swears to either win his cherished freedom, or ignominiously die by the blade.
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James Mace is a life-long historian and the author of twenty-one books, including seven Ancient History best-sellers, and two South African History best-sellers. He penned the initial draft of his first novel, “Soldier of Rome: The Legionary”, as a cathartic means of escapism while serving in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. His works span numerous eras, from Ancient Rome to the British Empire.