The priestess of fire, the fierce slave, the deadly accusation and the good man forced into a tragic position… This gorgeously written historical suspense is based on a little known true story of ancient Rome; of one woman’s fight against an empire, love, loyalty that can kill and divinity in the lowest places.
She is Secunda, or she was at the start. Disfigured by burns, the girl named ‘number two’ longs to be truly seen. But when drawn into the world of the famous Vestal Virgins the fiery slave must find her place where scrutiny is constant, and deadly.
Aemilia sees. The aristocratic priestess has given a lifetime tending the fire believed to be the living heart of Rome. Now gripped by temptations of a new life of freedom and passion, a shock scandal threatens to trap her where all that once protected her is now peril.
As frontline losses unnerve the realm, a vortex of political power and superstition pulls Aemilia into a fight between her survival, and Rome’s. Secunda must somehow save her but these are women of fire, and fire knows only to cure through total destruction.