208 BC. Hannibal, the fearsome champion of Carthage, has been marauding throughout Roman territory behind his trained war elephants for years. Publius Cornelius Scipio, a young Roman general burning to avenge his father's death in battle, takes up the fight against Hannibal's brother, Hasdrubal, in Spain. He sweeps the Carthaginians from the field with daring new tactics.
When the Romans seize a Carthaginian harem, Scipio takes the finest woman to his own quarters. The ravishing Vibiana, however, turns out to be no mere harem girl--she is Hasdrubal's daughter, the niece of Hannibal himself Scipio soon finds himself bewitched by Vibiana's charm and beauty, which could well be his undoing.
Despite their passion for each other, Scipio cannot promise Vibiana a future with him in Rome, so in despair she rashly kills her bodyguard and escapes. After a perilous journey, Vibiana returns to Carthage, where she is ostracized for having been a willing participant in the bed of a Roman. She is offered as a bride to the African King Syphax, to forge an alliance and block Rome's path to Carthage.
Unaware of Vibiana's fate, Scipio develops a plan to invade Africa and threaten Carthage itself, convinced this will draw Hannibal out of Italy to defend his homeland. But Rome is full of unscrupulous and greedy men who have made great fortunes profiteering from the war, and when word of Scipio's plan reaches them, they endeavor to block his strategy to end it.
Scipio returns to Rome where he meets Marcia, the beautiful and intelligent daughter of senator Marcinius, one of the most powerful politicians in Rome, and leader of the faction determined to prevent Scipio from attacking Carthage. When Scipio's proposition to invade Africa appears doomed on the Senate floor, Scipio and Marcia sway Marcinius' support by announcing their engagement. The African expedition is approved.
When Scipio learns that Vibiana has been installed in Syphax's court, he undertakes a bold raid against the ally of Carthage, and recaptures her. This sets off a stunning sequence of events as Scipio's love for Hannibal's niece comes to drive his decisions in ways that shock those closest to him and threaten to rock the foundations of Roman society, culminating in a terrible showdown between Scipio and Hannibal.
This epic story sweeps across the battlefields of Europe and Africa in a riveting tale of love and war, alliance and betrayal, political machinations and intrigue, bringing history to life with unforgettable grandeur.