64 AD – Guided by his overzealous mother, Emperor Nero rules with ruthlessness and maniacal intrigue. No one is safe from the Emperor’s wrath…not even his observant cousin, Nova. After witnessing a secret that could tear Rome apart, she's banished from court––forced to apprentice under Nero's mystifying healer, Locusta. Taking up residence with two other naive novices, Nova begins to realize there is far more to their mysterious mistress than meets the eye. In a matter of months, she learns the terrible truth of her circumstances and uncovers the horrifying secrets of the city's deadliest assassin––while unknowingly falling prey to the lethal ambitions of her tyrannical cousin. Forging allies and gaining enemies just as swiftly, Nova comes face-to-face with an unspeakable tragedy that'll haunt an empire. With nowhere else to turn, she becomes embroiled in murder and manipulation, forced to choose between her loyalties to the Emperor, the Roman people, and herself.