Tros and the Roman Empire turn to the Egypt of the Pharaohs
In this, the fifth volume of the saga of Tros, king of Samothrace, sea captain and adventurer, our hero finds himself once more enmeshed in the web of intrigue that surrounds the machinations of Julius Caesar in his perpetual lust to take and keep power in the turbulent days of Imperial Rome. Tros's relationship with his adversary continues to be ambivalent as by turns he finds himself opposed and allied to his ruthless counterpart. Now another great figure has joined Tros and Caesar on the stage of the ancient world. Cleopatra—Queen of Egypt—is a formidable character ever ready to play the game of intrigue, betrayal and shifting loyalties to suit her own objectives. Blood will surely be spilt and once again Tros finds himself inexorably caught up in monumental events that threaten his life and those he loves.
One Gaul leading, one behind, and one on either flank, she and Charmian stepped into the dark with the baskets on their heads, like wenches taking gifts of food to officers in whom the Queen showed interest.<br>
There was no lamp—and not yet much moonlight. They avoided bivouac-fires of camel-dung and driftwood, passing, like timid slave-girls, through the shadows between groups of men, who caught the glint of firelight on the weapons of the guards, and bid a bold price for their favors, from a distance. It was hardly etiquette to let a girl go by unflattered, but one took no chances with the mail-clad Gauls.<br>
There was a furlong-space of utter desolation between the farthest camp-fires and that breastwork where Apollodorus was. No sounds there but a sea-croon from the far beach, and ahead, the distant useless blare of trumpets in Pelusium.
So they heard Apollodorus's voice, and presently another like an angry lion muttering, before they could see the reed-work gabions and the line of the breastwork linking them, against the misty river gloom of the Nile beyond:
"The fools have cut their own throats by murdering Pompey. Surely his fleet could not be far behind him. Now his men will throw in their lot with us, and—"
"But I tell you, I saw Caesar's fleet! Crowded with men. Headed southward. If not for Alexandria, then whither else? By the wind and by the course not Hadrumentum."<br>
"Might it not have been Pompey's fleet?" asked Apollodorus' voice.<br>
"Nay! Later I met one ship loaded like a crate of chickens with two thousand men under the command of Lucius Lentulus, Pompey's general. I spoke to him. He was in two minds—to escape Caesar and to find Pompey. When I told him I had seen Caesar headed for Alexandria he set his own course for Pelusium; but his ship's bottom is foul. His captain does not know these waters. He will be lucky is he gets here by to-morrow's dawn."<br>
"But he will join us." <br>
"I doubt it. We shall learn in a matter of hours that Caesar has taken Alexandria. Caesar is swift, I tell you! Lucius Lentulus may make for Hadrumentum, where they told me in Cyprus that Cato and some other Romans expect to make a last stand."