Pisa, May 1364.
Sir William Gold is looking forward to a lucrative career as a hired sword in the endless warring between Italy's city states. But when a message comes from the Grand Master of the Hospitaliers, William is forced to leave his dreams of fame and fortune behind him.
The Hospitaliers are gathering men for a crusade, and Sir William must join them. Yet before they set out for the holy land, the knights face deadly adversaries much closer to home . . .
In the twisting politics of Italy, no one can be trusted. And there are those who would be pleased to see the crusade fail . . .
Can Sir William and his knights survive this impossible mission into the heart of the enemy?
Arimnestos of Plataea is a man who has seen and done things that most men only dream about. Sold into slavery as a boy, he fought his way to freedom - and then to everlasting fame: standing alongside the Athenians at the Battle of Marathon where the Greeks crushed the invading Persians.
Sometimes, however, a man's greatest triumph is followed by his greatest sorrow. Returning to his farm, Arimnestos finds that his wife Euphoria has died in childbirth, and in an instant his laurels turn to dust. But the gods are not finished with Arimnestos yet. With nothing left to live for, he throws himself from a cliff into the sea, only to be pulled by strong arms from death's embrace. When he awakes, he finds himself chained to an oar in a Phoenician trireme.
And so begins an epic journey that will take Arimnestos and a motley crew of fellow galley slaves to the limits of their courage, and beyond the edge of the known world, in a quest for freedom, revenge - and a cargo so precious it's worth dying for.
The vast and deadly conflict between Alexander the Great's former generals as they battle for control of his empire has reached a tense stalemate. No one seems able to strike the decisive blow.
But with everything in the balance, a secret emerges: hidden in the remote mountains is a young man who could change everything: Herakles, the son of Alexander.
Whoever aspires to Alexander's mantle must now control his one legitimate heir - or destroy him - and a war being played across the known world is set for its final, bloody conclusion. As the rival armies converge on the village of Ipsus, twin monarchs Satyrus and Melitta know that they too must gamble their own lives and the survival of their Black Sea kingdom on the outcome...
Fifteenth Century Europe. Tom Swan is not a professional soldier. He's really a merchant and a scholar looking for remnants of Ancient Greece and Rome - temples, graves, pottery, fabulous animals, unicorn horns. But he also has a real talent for ending up in the midst of violence when he didn't mean to. Having used his wits to escape execution, he begins a series of adventures that take him to street duels in Italy, meetings with remarkable men - from Leonardo Da Vinci to Vlad Dracula - and from the intrigues of the War of the Roses to the fall of Constantinople.
A young Englishman, Tom Swan, has been ordered by his Cardinal to find a spy - a traitor. At the same time, a rich merchant has offered him a great deal of money to - well, to steal something. Something that belonged to Alexander the Great.
Suddenly he's not a thief or a merchant or a scholar: he's a 'donat' or volunteer with the Knights of St John, the famous 'Hospitallers', and he's in the middle of a losing battle to hold the Aegean against the Turks. He'd like to steal the ring, kiss the girl and catch the spy, but there's a war on...
A young Englishman, Tom Swan, is badly wounded in a desperate sea fight. When he wakes in a hospital, he's in one of the last towns in Greece holding out against the Turks. And there aren't any women to be found. Rich men vie to hire him, and they all seem to want the same thing - a fabulous jewel made for Alexander the Great.
He's not a professional soldier. He's really a thief and a little bit of a scholar looking for remnants of Ancient Greece and Rome - temples, graves, pottery, fabulous animals, unicorn horns. But he also has a real talent for ending up in the midst of violence when he didn't mean to. Having used his wits to escape execution in part one, he begins a series of adventures that take him to the high seas, bedrooms in Constantinople and street duels in Italy, meetings with remarkable men - Cyriaco of Ancona and Sultan Mehmet II and the whole Sforza family - and from the intrigues of Rome to the Jewish Ghetto in Venice.