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On a blistering day in the twenty-sixth year of Augustus Caesar's reign, a young chef, Thrasius, is acquired for the exorbitant price of twenty thousand denari. His purchaser is the infamous gourmet Marcus Gavius Apicius, wealthy beyond measure, obsessed with a taste for fine meals from exotic places, and a singular ambition: to serve as culinary advisor to Caesar, an honor that will cement his legacy as Rome's leading epicure.