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Terra Incognita: A Novel of the Roman Empire | [Ruth Downie]

Terra Incognita: A Novel of the Roman Empire

The edge of the Roman Empire is a volatile place; the tribes of the North dwell near its borders. These hinterlands are the homeland of Gaius Petreius Ruso's slave, Tilla, who has scores of her own to settle there: Her tribespeople, under the leadership of the mysterious Stag Man, are fomenting a rebellion, and her former lover is implicated in the murder of a soldier. Ruso, once again pulled into a murder investigation, is appalled to find that Tilla is still spending time with the prime suspect.
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Publisher's Summary

It is spring in the year 118, and Hadrian has been emperor of Rome for less than a year. After his long and reluctant investigation of the murders of a handful of local prostitutes, Gaius Petreius Ruso needs to get out of town. With that in mind, he has volunteered for a posting with the army in the far reaches of Britannia - a calmer place for a tired man.

But the edge of the Roman Empire is a volatile place; the independent tribes of the North dwell near its borders. These hinterlands are the homeland of Ruso's slave, Tilla, who has scores of her own to settle there: Her tribespeople, under the leadership of the mysterious Stag Man, are fomenting a rebellion against Roman control, and her former lover is implicated in the grisly murder of a soldier. Ruso, once again unwillingly pulled into a murder investigation, is appalled to find that Tilla is still spending time with the prime suspect. Worse, he is honor-bound to try to prove the man innocent - and the army wrong - by finding another culprit. Soon both Ruso's and Tilla's lives are in jeopardy, as is the future of their burgeoning romance.

Terra Incognita shines light on a remote corner of the ancient world, where Ruso's luck is running short - again.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend us your ears: listen to the first book, Medicus.

©2008 Ruth Downie; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"A lively sequel to English author Downie's historical mystery Medicus....Immensely satisfying." (Kirkus Reviews)
"Who would guess that life and death in the far reaches of the Roman Empire could be so darn funny?" (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (494 )
5 star
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4.2 (290 )
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4.4 (289 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Kathryn Staunton, VA, United States 02-08-11
    Kathryn Staunton, VA, United States 02-08-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ruth Downie proves what's past is prologue!"

    I stumbled upon Medicus in the public library’s audio book stacks and discovered the sequels on Audible. Ruth Downie makes ancient Rome accessible to the modern reader/listener in so many ways. The clever parallels she draws to our own times proves that human behavior is timeless. Simon Vance nuanced characterizations breathe life into Ruso, Tilla, and all of the characters. BTW--If you want another good Simon Vance-read audio book, try The Religion by Tim Willocks.

    This book is sheer fun. Can't wait to read more Ruth Downie

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Lebanon, India 10-30-09
    Laurie Lebanon, India 10-30-09 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gods above! They've done it again!"

    Great story, great reader...from the slimy snake from Rome to the malingering patients in the ward, to the puffed up local brewer, these characterizations are spot on.

    Kudos to writer and narrator!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 02-17-11
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 02-17-11 Member Since 2006

    Addicted to Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1155
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    "Intolerably stupid"

    I liked the first book in this series- for some reason it sparked my imagination about that time period and I found the characters entertaining, so I was excited to listen to this one. It falls flat in my opinion. Perhaps the author should have just left well enough alone.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Horner Racine, WI, United States 05-28-13
    Horner Racine, WI, United States 05-28-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Now I'll buy the series"

    I ordered this mostly because it was offered in a 3-for-2 special. I found it very engaging. Not being expert in Roman Britain, I cannot comment on the historical accuracy, but it seemed plausible enough to carry the story. I am looking forward to Book #1 and the rest of the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abigail arlington, VA, United States 09-09-11
    Abigail arlington, VA, United States 09-09-11 Member Since 2014
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    "Even Better Than The First"

    I think this is the book I will tell people to read when recommending the series and I will be recommending the series. The first book had some few parts that needed a little polishing (still was a GREAT read) but this is near perfection. It has everything I like in a mystery, adventure, intelligence, wry humor, great characters, a noir feel, and writing compelling enough to keep you up way past your bedtime. Downie is particularly skilled in her characters and keeps them believable to period while still appealing to modern sensibilities. I am a history buff so I love the Roman/Britania backdrop but even if you hate historical books you'd like this. The story is compelling without any moments where you'd be embarrassed when if someone strolls in while your listening. (As opposed to say Pillars of the Earth which could frequently be embarrassing in the many long and explicitly sexual moments) Simon Vance reads this so well you forget him completely and dissolve into the story. He's also less nasal in this than in other books which some reviewers havent liked. He's one of my favorite narrators. This would be a great book for a car trip, especially one where you are worried about falling asleep. I should know as its 430 am right now but I couldn't stop listening. I only wish there were more than 4 books in this great series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Austin, TX, United States 01-01-11
    Susan Austin, TX, United States 01-01-11 Member Since 2015

    AmazonBookLover

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "CSI Brittania"

    This book is the second in a series of 4 (so far) books by Ruth Downie about Gaius Russo and his slave/lover Tilla. I enjoyed the first book (Medicus) very much and plan to download other books in this series. Russo is a Roman doctor in Roman occupied Brittania and something of a detective. I enjoyed the crime solving aspects of the book, similar to modern whodunnits, but mostly I enjoyed learning about the Roman culture and doctoring skills of the time period (sometime during the second century). The narration of the book is very good. Overall, this is a great listen as is the first book in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mike From Mesa 11-11-10 Member Since 2014

    MikeFromMesa

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Like meeting an old friend again."

    I read the first book of this series, "Medicus: A Novel Of The Roman Empire", some months ago and had a thoroughly good time listening to it. I enjoyed it so much that I immediately put this sequel on my wish list, but had not downloaded it to listen until a couple of days ago.

    I have to admit that I was somewhat concerned that the second book would not be up to the standards of the first. It has been my experience that many sequels are not up to the first book in the series and I half expected to be disappointed. Fortunately my worries were unwarranted. This book is as delightful as the first and the characters are essentially the same. Russo is still trying to do his job and not get involved in any new problems, Tilla is still as strong minded and independent as before and events still keep getting the two of them in trouble.

    Within the first 10 minutes I knew I was visiting an old friend again and was able to relax and enjoy the book. Time to put the third volume on my wish list.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Williams Philadelphia, PA USA 07-10-10
    L. Williams Philadelphia, PA USA 07-10-10 Member Since 2011
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    "The further adventures of Ruso and Tila"

    This book continues the adventures of a medicus in Roman Britain, Ruso, and his slave/companion, Tila. This book spends a lot of time on Tila, exploring her background and developing her character. One of the best things about this series on Audible is the fantastic narrator who does a splendid job in bringing the characters to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Louisville, KY, USA 04-28-10
    Jennifer Louisville, KY, USA 04-28-10 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great follow up"

    The character development continues. The story is great. If you liked Medicus, you'll like this one, too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles auxier, KY, USA 06-23-09
    Charles auxier, KY, USA 06-23-09 Member Since 2014
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    "a serious disappointment"

    i loved ms. downies previous work, however this one was lacking the interesting characters and mesmerizing atmosphere. i found it hard to even get through, which is unusual for me. stick with "medicus" it was superb, this was very very ho-hum.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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