Constantinople, AD550. The Roman Empire is in crisis with war in Italy and plague ravaging the cities. Emperor Justinian’s reconquest of the west has stalled, and his treasury is bankrupt.
Porphyrius the Charioteer, a bitter former slave, is the greatest competitor to ever ride in the Hippodrome, but when he loses his last race an old debt must be paid.
Cosmas the Rat is a traveller and heretical preacher condemned by the patriarchs for teaching that the world is flat.
Theodosius Dagisthaeus is a disgraced general, despised by his own men and desperate to redeem his fortunes.
The three unlikely companions are forced undertake a mission that could restore the Empire to its ancient glory. They are sent to steal the secret of silk from China.
The Persian King of Kings will do anything to stop the Romans. His agents hunt them relentlessly until their journey becomes a race to escape with their lives and the prize.
To return home the trio must reach the Indian coast, where they hope that Roman ships are waiting.
But their fate could change, as easily as the tides.