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Vita Brevis: A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire Audiobook

Vita Brevis: A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire: Medicus, Book 7

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Publisher's Summary

Ruso and Tilla's excitement at arriving in Rome with their new baby daughter is soon dulled by their discovery that the grand facades of polished marble mask an underworld of corrupt landlords and vermin-infested tenements. There are also far too many doctors - some skilled - but others positively dangerous.

Ruso thinks that he has been offered a reputable medical practice only to find that his predecessor, Doctor Kleitos, has fled, leaving a dead man in a barrel on the doorstep and the warning "be careful who you trust." Distracted by the body and his efforts to help a friend win the hand of a rich young heiress, Ruso makes a grave mistake, causing him to question both his competence and his integrity.

With Ruso's reputation under threat, he and Tilla must protect their small family from Doctor Kleitos' debt collectors and find allies in their new home while they track down the vanished doctor and find out the truth about the heiress' dead father - Ruso's patient - and the unfortunate man in the barrel.

©2016 Ruth Downie (P)2016 Tantor

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (233 )
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  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 10-19-16
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 10-19-16 Member Since 2017

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Life in Ancient Rome"

    This is book seven of the series. In this story Gaius Petraeus Ruso, his wife Tila and baby daughter Mara, have arrived in Rome from Britain. Former Tribune Accius has offered Ruso the home and medical practice of a Doctor Kleitos. Kleitos has vanished. Horiatis Balbo, a patron of Kleitos’s is convinced someone is trying to poison him and only Kleitos’s mysterious medial prescription will protect him. Balbo suddenly dies. Ruso and Tila are trying to solve the mystery of Kleitos and Balbo.

    The book is well written and the move to Rome adds a new excitement to the story. Downie, as always, provides a realistic view of ancient Rome and provides historical insight to the story. The characters feel real, the plot is complex and the suspense builds throughout the story. As with all Downie books there is a subtle dry humor which I enjoy. I am always amazed at the detail of Roman life that Downie works into her story. The squalid conditions and corruption that was Rome is vividly portrayed by Downie.

    Simon Vance does an excellent job narrating the story. Vance is a British actor and award winning audiobook narrator.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia 08-14-16
    Patricia 08-14-16 Member Since 2010
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    "Thank you for another completely wonderful listen!"

    I love these books so much I will listen to them again. They transport me to another time as an observer in the midst of the action so clear and colourful is the description of the scenes.
    As always, the writing is witty, the characters are now my friends, and the narration is superb! Thank you!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce Eriksen 07-30-16

    History addict

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    "Never disappoints"

    Downie has been right on since her first Russo. He and his sassy wife are good every time out. Simon Vance is the best narrator on audible books.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Madison, AL, US 08-02-16
    Amazon Customer Madison, AL, US 08-02-16 Member Since 2013

    Jamie Dodson writes Nick Grant Adventure historical fiction and aviation articles . jamiedodsonbooks dot com

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    "Another great Roman murder mystery."

    Ms. Downie just keeps getting better. What a wild ride through the eternal city of Rome. she brings the ancients to life.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregory 01-17-17
    Gregory 01-17-17 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

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    "A HERO IS NOT ALWAYS THE WARRIOR"

    Ruth Downie’s seventh novel Vita Brevis brings a glimpse of Hadrianic Rome and is a wonderful addition to the Medicus series. Ruso and Tilla make great and likeable hero's worth revisiting. Simon Vance is an outstanding narrator. Ruth Downie does a great job mixing her stories with historical events making them real for the reader. If you have enjoyed the previous stories in the series, this one is worth the credit. If you have not tried any of these books, and like believable period historical fiction, with a bit of mystery and detective work, try reading Medicus.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    justthisonce 01-10-17
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    "The series gets better and better."

    Set in Rome this time around, it seemed it would be difficult to be as good as all the stories set in Britannia. As good or better. If you haven't read any of this series, you probably could start with this one or any other and enjoy it but you may as well go back to the first book and start there. If you enjoy that one, you'll enjoy them all and each will be that much better for the back story. And then, like me, you'll get to the point I'm at now; trying to be patient as Ms. Downie works her charm and skill into the next book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 02-20-17
    Robert 02-20-17
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    "Another step into a real feeling Rome"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Ruth Dqwnie has once again shown us a very real feeling experience of life in the human world of ancient Rome. Here you will see a version of ancient people that shows that technology changes but people and how the relate to each other stay much the same. This book will take you to the side of Rome, the capital of the world, where common people live lives of drama that will not show in the writings of the great latin authors but still rings true. The real Rome would have had to operate much as this book shows because even Rome has to provide a living for the common people.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly Jackson, Mi, United States 12-30-16
    Beverly Jackson, Mi, United States 12-30-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Disappointed"

    Just didn't want us to forget them. No real plot or story. Mystery was a great let down

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 09-26-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Another Delightful Installment"

    It has become a fall tradition for me to listen to the latest installment in this series. The series is not particularly deep. In some ways, this is almost a "light-hearted" murder mystery series, if such a thing is possible. There is always a dose of humor and the characters are very easy to relate to, despite being set 2000 years in the past. The stories always follow the same pattern--the heroes unwittingly find themselves caught up in a murder mystery that somehow place them in jeopardy that they always manage to find a way of escaping while solving the mystery. Again, these aren't deep, but they are fun and relaxing. The narration is excellent--Simon Vance is by far one of the best narrators.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anonymous 09-17-16
    Anonymous 09-17-16 Member Since 2013
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    "AWESOME"

    absolutely brilliant. Loved the story Simon Vance is trully amazing, Ruth Downie never dissapoints

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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