This is the second volume of Simon RavenÂ¿s First Born of Egypt series. Marius Stern, the wayward son of Gregory Stern, has survived earlier escapades and is safely back at prep school Â¿ assisted by his fatherÂ¿s generous contribution to the schoolÂ¿s new shooting range. Fielding Gray and Jeremy Morrison are returning home via Venice, where they encounter the friar, Piero, an ex-male whore and a figure from a shared but distant past. Back in England, at the Wiltshire family home, Lord Canteloupe is restless. He finds his calm disturbed by events: the arrival of Piero; JeremyÂ¿s fatherÂ¿s threat to saddle his son with the responsibility of the family estate; and the dramatic resistance of Gregory Stern to attempted blackmail.