Now he has a new problem: a slave who won't talk and can't cook, and drags trouble in her wake. Before he knows it, Ruso is caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar.
A few years earlier, after he rescued Emperor Trajan from an earthquake in Antioch, Ruso seemed headed for glory: now he's living among heathens in a vermin-infested bachelor pad and must summon all his forensic knowledge to find a killer who may be after him next.
Who are the true barbarians, the conquered or the conquerors? It's up to Ruso (certainly the most likeable sleuth to come out of the Roman Empire) to discover the truth. With a gift for comic timing and historic detail, Ruth Downie has conjured an ancient world as raucous and real as our own.
©2007 Ruth Downie; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"Downie's auspicious debut sparkles with beguiling characters and a vividly imagined evocation of a hazy frontier." (Publishers Weekly)
"Fans of Alexander McCall Smith will delight in this series debut set in Roman-occupied Britain and featuring wry army doctor Gaius Petreius Ruso." (Booklist)
I found this book exceeded my expectations. The writing was descriptive and engrossing. The narration was good, but I did have to get used to some of the character choices. That being said, there was strong continuity. It's been one of the most entertaining books I've listened to on Audiable.
cook, lawyer, knitter, mom, grandmom
Creative license on an unknown period that rings true
Colleen McCullough's series about Rome, the Grass Crown comes to mind
I could listen to Simon Vance all day, and have been known to do so!
Ruso, Valen, Tilla are all recognizable characters. With a family full of doctors, I know those guys well!
Well researched, carefully plotted entertainment
Finally, a series with substance. Delightful characters, great historical setting and great narration. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
If you want historical fiction that adheres as closely as possible to 'fact,' this is probably not a book for you. But, considering how little we have upon which to build a factual rendition of a Roman settlement in the wilds of Brittania, the writer did an admirable job of creating something that 'feels' like it could have happened in that time and that place. Narrative is good, descriptive passages paint a clear picture without going on and on, dialogue is good, and most importantly, the people are very much alive. This book was a Deal of the Day. Many turn out to be duds, but this one was an exceptional exception.
Quick read, fun enough, historical inaccurate like you wouldn't believe. The reader is quite good until he does the voices of children or thugs, which is so bad it's jarring.
A departure from the usual mild mystery with its setting in Roman-ruled Brittania. The story is interesting, with a mystery woven into the tale of a cash-strapped military physician trying to work his way up and the slave girl he buys in kindness who turns out to be a responsibility and, to his surprise, a feeling human being. The ever-wonderful Simon Vance narrates.
I got sucked into the world of Medicus and fell instantly in love. A wonderfully executed story full of fascinating historical details.
This review and rating may seem to be contradictory at points but bear with me. Downie has written a very pleasant and fast moving story of murder set in the Roman Empire. Simon Vance does his usual sterling job of narration, and I came to care about the characters (the Roman military doctor and the female slave he rescues). However, the book seems riddled with anachronisms (characters talking about things like economy of scale, the language seems thoroughly modern and quite British which even in a novel set in Roman Britain seems a little odd, and the military and civil bureaucracy sound a little too modern) and there is of course, the predictability of the relationships. All this sounds like I am panning the book. I am not. What rescues this book for me is that the author has a good sense of fun and a sprightly sense of pace. I never felt like the book lagged and as I noted, I came to root for the doctor and his slave who it becomes very obvious is going to be his romantic interest. Even knowing this, hard not to like this book. Not a bad way to spend a few days commute!
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