Augustus, the Immortal Emperor, has ruled for nearly two centuries.

The citizens of the Roman empire have all the time in the world, now that immortality is in their grasp. The greatest scholars and engineers of their time have been granted an eternity to work their art, and the Empire seems destined to rule the world for all eternity. And though eternity comes with a price -- a nocturnal lifestyle, and a need for fresh mortal blood -- the myriad mortal scions of the empire are generally eager enough to serve, in hopes of gaining citizenship for themselves in the brief time they’ve been granted.

So when a prominent citizen of Rome is found dead, the cause unknown, the investigation must be conducted quickly and quietly, to avoid panic. The investigation becomes the province of the city’s most respected quaestor: Quintus Sergius Severus, known as the Hawk. But the victim’s most trusted mortal servant, Aula Valeria Alba, isn’t willing to sit back and wait for answers; suspected of murdering the man herself, she’s determined to find out what took her immortal father-figure from her, and clear her name. Untrained and unpracticed, Alba’s insistent search for answers continually gets in the way of Severus’ methodical investigation.