Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire Audiobook | Ruth Downie | Audible.com
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Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire | [Ruth Downie]

Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire

Gaius Petrius Ruso is a divorced and down-on-his-luck army doctor who has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. After a 36-hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to a moment of weakness and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner. And before he knows it, Ruso is caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar.
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Publisher's Summary

Gaius Petrius Ruso is a divorced and down-on-his-luck army doctor who has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. His arrival in Deva (more commonly known today as Chester, England) does little to improve his mood, and after a 36-hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to a moment of weakness and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner.

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (788 )
5 star
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4.0 (380 )
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4.3 (377 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Lehua Volcano, HI, USA 03-29-08
    Lehua Volcano, HI, USA 03-29-08 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    370
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    "Took Me by Surprise"

    The similarities to Lindsey Davis's Falco are present and obvious, so I didn't expect much more than a takeoff. I was so wrong. There was plenty that was fresh and enjoyable. The plot is very absorbing, the hero is likable and engaging, and there's ample, if gentle, humor. Except for the unreliable best friend, none of the characters were stock, and some were very startling. Ms. Downey is less didactic than Ms. Lindsey with the historical info, and that had pluses and minuses. On the one hand, I had to do more guessing by context on terms, but it also allowed for a free flow that I enjoyed. I would definitely recommend this.

    Audio: After a recent series of horrible readers, this was a great pleasure. The reader has a pleasant voice, is a good actor, and delineates the characters beautifully. And unlike most male readers, he does a good job with the females, using timbre instead of pitch, thus sounding like real women rather than impersonators or elderly aunts. He's top drawer on this one.

    36 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Seattle, WA, USA 09-09-07
    David Seattle, WA, USA 09-09-07 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "You are there in ancient Britain"

    This is a thoroughly enjoyable murder mystery and imaginative recreation of ancient Britain in the early days of Roman occupation. Humorous and colorful.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rose Chesapeake, OH, United States 03-28-07
    Rose Chesapeake, OH, United States 03-28-07 Member Since 2004
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    "Murder on the Roman Frontier"

    The British paperback title of this book is Medicus and the Disappearing Dancing Girls, which probably gives a better idea of the lively nature of this story about a divorced military doctor stationed in Roman Britain in 117 AD faced with the mysterious murder of local tavern girls.

    The author has very good comic timing as Gaius Petreius Ruso tries to cope with all of the problems attendant on being on the edge of the civilized world, as the Romans knew it. Whether it involves buying his first pair of wool trousers or his efforts to find a good cook or dealing with hospital bureaucrats, Ruso's trials provide an entertaining diversion.

    The narrator is Simon Vance who also narrated The Fourth Bear. His occasional reuse of a voice from that other book is a bit disconcerting, however, overall he does very well indeed.

    26 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Richmond, VA 08-31-07
    Susan Richmond, VA 08-31-07 Member Since 2006

    avidreader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great listen"

    Great story, good pacing. I thought it brought ancient Rome to life. Highly recommend.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jennifer los gatos, CA, United States 11-06-09
    jennifer los gatos, CA, United States 11-06-09 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Highly Entertaining"

    The first installment of a highly entertaining mystery by British writer Ruth Downie. The Medicus, Ruso, an army doctor becomes a reluctant detective who tries to solve a murder mystery in the Britannia port of Deva. Along the way, he matches wits with Tilla, his slave girl, the hospital thug, and the women of the bordello, to hilarious results. Top it off with excellent narration by the great Simon Vance, and you've got a good read.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ana Downey, CA, United States 07-05-08
    Ana Downey, CA, United States 07-05-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Highly recommended"

    This is a great book, the characters are very likable, it is interesting, humorous and credible.
    It is read by Simon Vance, who is, as always, an absolute pleasure to listen.
    To give you an idea of what I like, I spent 6 moths reading Patrick O'Brian (the audio books are also read by Simon Vance, by the way) and a year reading Terry Pratchett.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Alameda, CA, United States 04-29-13
    Margaret Alameda, CA, United States 04-29-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Delivers a whooping good story"

    I don't know how I missed Ruth Downie and the Russo series, but since the first book was published in 2007, it must be true which is a bummer for me. But, on the good side, there are now four more novels in the series ready to download without any waiting. Discovering a new series is one of the best things that I spend my credits on!

    I realize that people who are very particular about historical accuracy might find Medicus trying, but I have no such standards. I thought it was great! There is a strain of sentimentality in the work that is more common is "cozy" mysteries, but that charmed me right away.

    I hope the next book holds to the same tone and builds the momentum so well done in Medicus. I'm going to download book two now. Fingers crossed.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ralph Tampa, FL, United States 03-02-11
    Ralph Tampa, FL, United States 03-02-11 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Medicus"

    As always, Simon Vances is a joy to listen to, his narration flawless, each character distinctly drawn by the voices he gives to them. After a bit of a slow start, the book picks up its pace and provides a fascinating look into Britannia under Roman rule. Most enjoyable for anyone who loves historical fiction.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue Montague, CA, USA 04-27-07
    Sue Montague, CA, USA 04-27-07
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    "Medicus"

    Given the setting (Roman Empire Era) I didn't expect to like it. Was surprised to throughly enjoy the book. Good character development and enough surprises to keep one interested.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 08-14-07
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 08-14-07 Member Since 2001

    BJS

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An enjoyable surprise"

    I didn't expect much, but soon found I was looking forward to what would happen next. Fun with a twist.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
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