Darquin, son of Kirian and Isolde was born on a Gallic- Romano estate in the shadow of the ancient Audean, fortified town of Bibracte on Mont Beuvray.

The chance discovery of the simmering love affair between Darquin and Helena, the betrothed teenage daughter of estate owner Tiberius, when caught in a passionate embrace, results in him being banished from the Villa. He is forced to join his cousin Arrius in a unit of Audean cavalry, which was attached to Roman reinforcements, destined to join Proconsul Marcus Licinius Crassus in Syria. The Roman Army suffer a crushing defeat at Carrhae. The Audean cavalry unit, isolated from the main force are captured by a group of mercenaries. They choose to join their captors with whom they travel to Ferghana, the Valley of the White Horses.

When Zhizhi Chanyu, leader of a group of Xiongnu tribesmen demanded from the town an annual tribute as insurance against attack, one hundred horses are sent, accompanied by both Audeans and Ferghanians, to his fort. Advancing from Kashgar towards Zhizhi was an army of the Han Empire, determined to end barbarian control over the trading routes into their country.

Caught in the ensuing siege, the group from Ferghana help with the defence of the fort. The bloody battle ends in victory for General Chen and his allies. One hundred and forty prisoners are taken, all belonging to the group from Ferghana whose tactics had impressed the General.

Darquin and his companions are taken to Chen’s headquarters at Kashgar but are dismayed when they are set one final task: to prove their allegiance to the Emperor. Their reward for success, will be a permanent settlement in the county of Liqian to end their eventful journey in peace. Execution will be the price of failure.