|The year is 12 AD and Victory has been snatched from under Rome's nose -- quite literally. The famous statue of the Roman goddess Victory said to be sculpted by the Greek Master Phidias has been taken from her temple in the dead of the night. An arrest is quickly made of a Jewish art dealer from Alexandria, but he maintains his innocence.
Now Gaius Julius Alexander, Roman citizen, Jew, and the son of the Alabarch in Alexandria, must find the statue if he is to free his client Alexander is joined in his investigation by his childhood friends Claudius (great nephew of the emperor Augustus), Agrippa (Jewish prince and grandson of Herod the Great), and the poor patrician Rutilus.
Their search for the statue takes them through the world of unscrupulous statuary collectors, secret rooms in brothels, temples, a fight for a synagogue, and the chariot races. But worst of all, to find the statue will Alexander have to accuse the Praetorians, the Emperor's own personal guard?
-- 2nd place winner, Florida Writer's Association's Royal Palm Literary Awards, Mystery category, Oct. 2007