Caecilia, Roman born but Etruscan wed, forsakes Rome to return to her husband, Vel Mastarna, exposing herself to the enmity of his people while knowing the Romans will give her a traitor's death if Veii falls. Semni, a reckless Etruscan servant in the House of Mastarna, embroils herself in schemes that threaten Caecilia's son and Semni's own chance for love. Pinna, a destitute Roman prostitute, uses coercion to gain the attention of Rome's greatest general at the risk of betraying Caecilia's cousin.
In 406 BC, to seal a tenuous truce, the young Roman Caecilia is wedded to Vel Mastarna, an Etruscan nobleman from Veii. Leaving her militaristic homeland, Caecilia is determined to remain true to Roman virtues while living among the sinful Etruscans. But, despite her best intentions, she is seduced by a culture that offers women education, independence, sexual freedom, and an empowering religion.