For Marcus Didius Falco, agent to the Emperor Vespasian, Alexandria holds fascination and a hint of fear. Beautiful, historic and famously unruly, the great cosmopolitan city wears Roman rule lightly. While his wife, Helena Justina, wants to see the Lighthouse and the Pyramids, Falco has a mission at the Great Library that soon turns out to involve much more than stock-taking its innumerable scrolls. A mysterious death in the world-famous library brings him into immediate conflict with the darker side of academic life. With forensic science in its infancy, even an illegal autopsy fails to find real answers.To solve the crime for the Roman Prefect - if indeed it is a crime - Falco will have to draw on his own doggedness and intuition, at first supported only by Helena's commonsense and the loyal backup of her brother Aulus, who goes under cover as a student among the in-fighting academics.