This is another wonderful historical novel by the master, Mika Waltari. The novel takes place in ancient Rome and Greece. It is simply the story of one man's ups and downs in life. This is a great adventure story just stuffed with wonderful historical facts. I will grant you, as other reviewer's have pointed out, that this story can indeed be a bit gloomy at times and at some points, down right depressing. That is okay, it is about life and who of us don't face those situations? The story moves well in it's brooding way and is an absolute delight to read. I do hope that this is not one of those that will go permanently out of print and be lost on the bottom shelves of old books stores. Some times older is indeed better and this novel, like all of this author's work, falls into that category. I cannot recommend this one highly enough. Actually, from a personal point of view, I feel this was probably the author's best, if not most popular work.