It is AD 81. The Roman emperor Domitian seizes power. Afflicted by classic paranoia, the self-styled Master and God sees enemies everywhere - and he is right. The Senate loathes him, his advisers are terrified, he cannot trust his wife, and barbarians menace the frontiers. As he vents his suspicions, no one is safe.
Gaius Vinius Clodianus survives physical and mental scars to reach high rank in the Praetorian Guard. Flavia Lucilla tends the privileged women at court; when Domitian's inherited talent unravels into madness, she loses her patron cruelly. In the haven of their shared apartment, Gaius and Lucilla find solace together, yearning for normality while living in a Reign of Terror.
Moves against Domitian are begun by his own household. Lucilla has to watch Gaius choose between love for her and risking death; between his sworn duty to protect the emperor and killing Domitian for the good of Rome. The plot careers close to exposure. Rome teeters on the brink of its Golden Age. A group of unlikely conspirators must now act with decency and courage, whatever the personal cost.
Master and God is the epic story of a despot whose contemporaries wrote him out of history. Told in Lindsey Davis' sardonic style, it is an intimate portrait of resilience, friendship, and love.