Marcus Didius Falco is about to get involved in a nasty noir crime, involving gangsters, gladiators, and romance.
For Falco, a relaxed visit to his wife Helena's relatives in Britain suddenly turns serious. He and his family are staying in London when Falco is summoned to the scene of a murder. The victim, Verovolcus, was a renegade with ties to Roman crime magnates operating in London, but he was also close to King Togidubnus. So when he is discovered dead, stuffed headfirst down a well, a tricky diplomatic situation develops that Falco must defuse.
His investigation leads him into the seedy underbelly of London. There is a newly built amphitheater in town, one with female gladiators, but Falco soon realizes that the initially troublesome gladiators - including one from his own bachelor past - may just give him the edge he needs to solve Verovolcus' murder, as the gangsters are pursued back to the Italian town of Ostia for a final showdown.
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