A dying Roman fugitive whispers his newborn daughter's soul name and then pronounces her life name, Selene. Raised in Antioch by the healer-woman who delivered her, at 16 Selene begins the outward quest for her lost identity. But when she concentrates on her inner flame, her soul flame, she has a special healing power. Her medical ability helps her survive slavery in a desert fortress, wandering with Bedouins, and sojourns in Persia, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Rome. Accepted in Rome as the granddaughter of Cleopatra and Caesar, she begins her lifelong dream: to build a house of healing, or hospital. Nero and his mother scheme against her. The many subplots in this historical romance are woven together by the three threads of ancient religion, history, and medical lore.