Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera ― or Abdes, as he is called ― is a seventeen-year-old soldier undergoing training to join the Seventh Cohort of the Third Gallic auxiliary, stationed just outside of the ancient city of Sepphoris in Galilee. While on leave in the bustling city, Abdes stumbles upon a shocking scene: two Roman soldiers raping a young Jewish woman. Abdes fends them off, but is stabbed in the process and left for dead. When Abdes awakens, he is in the protective custody of the Roman urban cohort, or police force, in Sepphoris. He is told that the young woman had been discovered brutally murdered near his body and that his Roman name ― Pantera ― had been leaked as the culprit. The Jewish citizens of Sepphoris clamor daily for Pantera’s execution. It’s a tremendous strain to the already-weak relationship between the Romans, who govern the city in the stead of King Herod, and the mostly Jewish population.