Book Summary 64 AD – Rome has burned to the ground, leaving thousands of people dead and wounded and many more without food and shelter. The angry citizens blame 27-year-old Emperor Nero for the Fire, even though he personally led the week-long battle to save the Imperial City. Nero orders his close friend Rusticus to investigate, hoping to blame the Fire on a strange new religious sect called the Christians. Instead Rusticus, a former gladiator and one Nero’s top ministers, discovers three murdered senators, each wearing a mask. With the help of a charming nurse, Camilia, he finds a tangled conspiracy linking the Fire, the murders, and the death of his own wife two years earlier. Rusticus falls in love with Camilia, not knowing she is a Christian and has introduced his eight-year-old daughter to its secret rites. Now he must choose between his loyalty to Nero and his love for the woman who lied to him, between keeping his family safe and seeking revenge for his wife’s murder.
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Don Westenhaver planned to become a Catholic priest, but left to join the U.S. Marines in 1966. The Marines trained him to be a Vietnamese interpreter but then assigned him to be a platoon radioman near the DMZ. Back in the U.S., he finished college and joined Arthur Andersen, becoming a CPA and an MBA. As an oil company executive, Don traveled frequently to Mexico, Venezuela, Europe, Singapore and South Africa. His experiences inspired him to write his first novel, The Whiplash Hypothesis, an international thriller about the oil business. Don is now a Director of Finance with a major automobile company. He lives in Southern California and is married with two daughters.
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