The Shepherd's Story... Daphnis kws he is the best shepherd in his beloved countryside, even if he is only a little slave boy. But when he fails to meet the demands of his cruel master Pericles, his sister is sold into a life of depravity. Distraught, Daphnis escapes to Ephesus in search of her but finds someone else who might aid him: Panthea, the Roman emperor's mistress. The Mistress' Story... Despised by the rich and powerful as thing more than the emperor's low-born plaything, beautiful Panthea has endured a lifetime of abuse and manipulation. The emperor's wife threatens her. A brutal businessman blackmails her. Panthea finds relief from her hellish existence only through the pastoral poetry written for her by the baker Aristides. The Writer's Story... Although Aristides' poetry has charmed the emperor's mistress, what he truly desires is to acquire a literary patron and become a successful writer. His chance comes when he is asked to write a glowing biography for the businessman Pericles. But as Aristides discovers the dark truth about his patron, his conscience torments him. Aristides hesitates to write such lies, but the dream of fame beckons. Besides, what is a little slave boy or the emperor's mistress to him, anyway? A city under siege... As the social fabric of Ephesus frays under the onslaught of a remorseless killer, their lives hang in the balance. Love and hor will be tried in one final, anguished crucible. One woman may hold the key to all their salvation: the ship that will be the last to flee the dying city.