In Rome in the year 238 AD, Emperor Maximinus's reign hangs in the balance. The empire is bleeding manpower and money in an attempt to sustain its wars in the north, and rebellions flare in the far reaches of its territories. Meanwhile in Africa, Gordian the Elder and Younger are proclaimed as the new Augusti. A family descending from the Imperial bloodline, they represent a chance for the establishment to take back the empire. The first blood of the revolt is shed in Rome when an assassin murders the emperor's prefect, announcing to Rome that the Gordians have taken the throne; still bitter at Maximinus's rise from the barracks to power, the Senate endorses the rebellion, and chaos descends on the capitol. But in his heart, Maximinus is a man of war: when he hears of the betrayal, he acts with decisive brutality and violence. On the dusty plains outside Carthage, blood and steel will determine the fate of the Roman Empire.