Valerio Massimo Manfredi's Tyrant starts in Sicily 412 BC: the infinite duel between a man and a superpower begins. The man is Dionysius, who has just made himself Tyrant of Syracuse. The superpower Carthage, mercantile megalopolis and mistress of the seas.
Over the next eight years, Dionysius' brutal military conquests will strike down countless enemies and many friends to make Syracuse the most powerful Greek city west of mainland Greece. He builds the largest army of antiquity and invents horrific war machines to use against the Carthaginians, who he will fight in five wars.
But who was Dionysius? Historians have condemned him as one of the most ruthless, egocentric despots. But he was also patron of the arts, a dramatist, poet and tender lover.