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
"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)
I am a great fan of the mystery novels of Lindsey Davis, Steven Saylor and John Maddox Roberts, all set in pre 453 AD Rome. It was happenstance to discover the first volume, Medicus, in Ruth Downie's new series about a military physician in Roman Britain at the beginning of Hadrian's rule. Our hero is a provincial, not a "city of Rome" plebeian or patrician. He comes with a set of personal problems, family and financial, that form a back drop to his motives and actions and shape his character as a reluctant hero. Terra Incognita is the second volume. Not quite as interesting as the first, it, nevertheless, develops the story line in a happy, somewhat predictable, and amusing fashion. There is intriguing detail about the customs of the British tribes and the Roman occupiers of this misty isle. It is increasingly easy to imagine our physician staying in Britain after the legions withdraw, a distant ancestor of, perhaps, a noble Saxon family. I look forward to future adventures of the medicus and his housekeeper. Good work Ms Downie.
I listen to books at night after I turn off the light, and I try to find verbose tales with loose plots that will put me to sleep after about 30 minutes. The next night I rewind the iPod to find the spot where I fell asleep. Unfortunately, Terra Incognita didn't meet my needs because I couldn't fall asleep while listening to it and I kept restarting the timer on the iPod to the point that I was listening two hours at a time. Don't buy this book if you want to lull yourself to sleep. Also, the reader is so terrific that for the first time ever I searched for books read by him just to hear his voice again. He's one of the elite few whose women's voices are distinct without being fake. The man should be given a Oscar!
A fun listen. Good plot, good characters and an excellent narrator, Simon Vance. The historical aspects are quite interesting. Ruso gives a "Roman" perspective on the occupation of Britain in ancient times. I look forward to more books about Ruso and Tilla.
Very much so. If you have listened to or read the SPQR series by John Maddox Roberts and enjoyed you will enjoy this as well. This is more centered around a Roman Doctor Russo who was stationed in Briton. Ends up solving crimes for the empire. He also marries a "Barbarian" Briton woman, but she's really the best thing in his life and he knows it. You have to read this series in order just like any other series or it will not make sense.
I really love both Russo and his wife Tilla. In many ways she makes Russo more earthy and realize what is really important.
Simon Vance is one of my favorite narrators, when I'm looking at a new book I see who's narrating and since he's in my top ten I usually will take great interest in purchasing. He brings emotions and each character to life.
I think Ruth Downie is has done very well in this series and her research about Rome in
Briton is also very good. If you want to read great novels by great authors on the Roman Empire the three top are Robert Graves, John Maddox Roberts and Ruth Downie. They all have separate areas in their books but all are well researched with time lines and what was happening. I have most of the books by all three authors. I guess that is a major hint that I love historical novels
Simon Vance is an excellent narrator. His voices for each of the characters are pitch perfect--not too over the top but unique so that you know throughout the book who is speaking. I love his narration of these Ruth Downie books and it's why I intend to listen to all of them in order.
No. Ruso and Tilla make an excellent romantic duo, but they are not together much in this book. Instead, Tilla is off doing her own thing. I found that a bit disappointing since the beauty of the earlier book was the romantic tension between the two.
This book has some moments where I felt Ruso was out of character. He questions a suspect to a murder by dunking the man's head in a barrel of water. Ruso it seems to me is supposed to be the hero of the story and better than that--he's a doctor and will not beat his slave when they disobey him. Aside from that this is an interesting murder mystery and the characters are believeable.
I look forward to Persona Non Grata, the next book in the series. I'm very glad Simon Vance is narrating all four.
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
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!
This adventure was even better than the last. Downie offers multiple points of view and all are interesting. Tilla continues to be one of the funniest characters going, and their relationship is priceless. Wonderful in every way.
The book is entertaining, well-written and well-researched without being stuffy. Has it all: adventure, mystery, complicated relationships and strikes a great balance with all of it. The reader also strikes the right balances with speed and cadence. Definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a good story and a little history.
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.
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