Lucius Decius Verus is the son of a Roman officer, Marcus Decius Verus, and his wife Camilla. They live in the north of England when that country is ruled by Rome around the time when Hadrian’s Wall is being built, about 122 AD. When he is only a few months old the couple, while driving through a wild storm, negligently lose the child from the carriage they are travelling in. The child, Lucius, is found by a local woman, Mora, who decides to keep the child. And she names the baby boy Corio. Camilla blames Marcus for the loss of her baby, the one love in her life, and she leaves him and goes south to live with her sister. Mora is later murdered by her husband, Vero, when Corio is three years old. So, Mora’s friend, Liva, and her husband, Agar, take over the responsibilities of raising Corio as their son. The boy grows up with his adopted parents, learning to farm while interacting with some of the Roman population, learning a little Latin in the process. When Corio is fourteen years old, unknown to him, his natural father Marcus is injured in battle and his mother Virginia, a tall, bossy woman, comes to look after her son and decides to stay indefinitely. When she is visiting a friend, Natalia, she sees the boy there and is startled by his likeness to her son Marcus.