Sienkiewicz received the 1905 Nobel Price in Literature for his "outstanding merits as an epic writer".
The novel follows the developing love between a Christian woman and a Roman Patrician in the time of Nero.
The romantic story arc is set against the conflict of the moral systems of the long established Roman Empire and the developing Christianity.
Sienkiewicz uses this setting to explore morality and power, and his observations remain relevant today.
The novel is based on extensive historical research and gives a good view of life in those times.