|This article does not cite any references or sources. (March 2010)|
First US edition
|Publisher||William Morrow (US)
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Preceded by||The Grass Crown|
|Followed by||Caesar's Women|
The novel opens with Lucius Cornelius Sulla's return from the East, the second civil war his rise to the Dictatorship, and his proscriptions against those who formed an antagonistic government under Marius (now dead) while he was away.
While Sulla's shadow covers the majority of the rest of the book, his physical deformity, after his pale skin is all but destroyed by intense sun exposure, is always contrasted with his near-absolute political power, after his willing resignation of power, retirement to a pleasure villa and dramatic death, three young men of the next generation begin to vie to become the Masters of Rome in their own right: Pompey the Great's youthful campaigns and his fierce battle against the Roman renegade Quintus Sertorius are narrated, as are Marcus Licinius Crassus' struggle against Spartacus, the Roman wars in the East against Mithridates, and the youthful adventures of Gaius Julius Caesar.
The novel culminates with halcyon year of Pompey and Crassus' first joint consulship.
The book's title is a reference to an often repeated theme in the series, and expresses the Roman belief that Fortuna, the Goddess of Luck, would take a hand in the lives of those who please her, helping them along when they needed it most.
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