Born illegitimately into Roman royalty in AD 48, Ushriya is left for dead. Raised to age four by merchant bakers in the wanton town of Pompeii, she is kidnapped by slave traders and returned to Rome where she becomes the slave of a wealthy Roman soldier and his wife. Hearing of a teacher espousing a new morality, Ushriya begins following him before escaping the Great Fire. She finds herself back in Pompeii, desperate and disoriented at the notorious brothel, the Lupanare, where survival forces her into prostitution. When an unexpected revelation connects Ushriya to the unpredictable Emperor Nero, she must accept her identity to fulfill her royal destiny.