Rome, 10BC. Manilus Dardanus, a new soldier from the provinces, applies for a military sponsorship with Cassius Valerian, the respected general of a small legion patrolling the northern frontier. Idealistic and naive, Dardanus has a lot to learn about the life he has chosen, and at first the brusque and reticent general seems the least willing candidate to teach him; but gradually a bond begins to form between this unlikely pair, one that neither could ever have imagined.
Over the course of a blood-soaked summer in the wild, as Dardanus struggles with coming of age and Valerian wrestles the ghosts of his past, battles and betrayals on every side will threaten to end that fragile bond — and possibly their lives.
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