The year is 66 AD. Jerusalem is in the grip of the corrupt, venal Procurator, Gessius Florus. The city is torn between political, religious and revolutionary groups struggling for dominance. The Procurator's iron grip overshadows all.
Tensions in the city are inflamed by Meir ben-Batiach, a giant of a young man who dreams of freeing his country from the occupiers' rule. His uncle, Yohanan Ben Zakkai, a highly respected rabbi seeks a negotiated peace. Uncle and nephew, statesman and revolutionary are thrown together in an unlikely alliance.
A wealthy merchant marries his daughter, Nechama, to Levi, the son of a priest. At the wedding party the merchant humiliates a long standing enemy who takes his revenge by laying trumped up charges with the Procurator. The newlyweds are taken captive, separated from each other, sold into slavery and shipped to Rome.
From his vantage point as a trusted slave in the port of Ostia, where the boats from Judea dock, Levi chronicles the conflicts, conspiracies and intrigues that threaten to overwhelm his homeland. All the while seeking to find his lost wife and his way home.