Luke, a Gothic prince of Angland and a shaman's pupil, sets out to prove himself worthy of kingship by finding traders for his people's amber jewels. His journey leads him south through treacherous waters and murderous barbarians. With younger brother Hal at his side, and trust in his sword, Luke finds a new and unexpected destiny.
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In Greece, Luke finds manhood too, with the voluptuous and beautiful Agariste. She reveals a rotten secret at the heart of Athens, which draws the brothers into a vicious war against the Persian Empire. King Darius the Great, with his vast navy fleets and army legions, is bent on destroying the Ionian city of Eretria, and then Athens, with its fledgling democracy and its persistent refusal to bow to tyranny.
As leader of the toughest seafaring mercenaries in Greece, Luke gathers vital intelligence for the General of Athens and rescues the future mother of Herodotus, the world's first historian. Luke's quest also reveals Misia, an alluring young Carian princess, who betrays him, yet captures his heart.
Confronted with superior military force on the plain of Marathon, Luke, Hal, and the Greeks engage the Persian army in bloody combat, in one of the most important and epic battles of all time. Its outcome will decide the future of the entire world for decades and millennia to come.