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Exposed...cast aside...condemned...yet the gods must favour the slave girl Decima, saving her as Mount Vesuvius explodes. Vowing to fulfil whatever purpose the gods ask of her, she must first use guile to survive. "What you do is who you become," and Decima becomes Maia Secunda, free born citizen, liar and thief. Fate leads her to Puteoli and on to Roma to help with the double disasters of fire and plague which are ravaging the city. Assisted by some, used by others, Maia is seeking the highest patronage but to succeed she must keep her shameful secrets buried in the ashes that cover Pompeii. This is her life to live...
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