The war between Rome and Carthage has stalled to become numbing siege warfare in Sicily. Captain Gaius Lutatius Catulus knows that Rome cannot win the war without a new navy. The Senate does not agree to fund its construction, forcing Lutatius to retire to run his country estate.
However, the goddess of Destiny offers Lutatius an opportunity, and the warrior in him overcomes the farmer. Soon, Lutatius has drifted into a game which on his part can only end in magnificent victory, or overwhelming shame. He is forced to observe that the world of Roman politics is teeming with enemies who are many times more cunning and dangerous than the soldiers of Carthage.
Lutatius must meet many a danger and surprise, before Rome at last perceives him as Marine Consul. At the same time, he learns that Destiny has its quirks, and glory has its price.