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 tha..Show More »t 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.
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 dis..Show More »cover 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 tend to listen to non-fiction more than fiction, but I am thoroughly engaged by these novels.
I have (via their websites) nagged both..Show More » Ms. Downie and Mr. Vance about the release of the audio version of her latest Ruso novel. It is well worth the wait! I enjoy this series so very much -- I have listened to Medicus and Terra Incognita many times.
I find the protagonists delightfully drawn, and the secondary characters unique and very engaging.
I missed Albanus in this one, though...his eagerness and simplicity are a wonderful foil for Ruso's cynicism and weariness.
The environmental background is delightfully portrayed. I felt the dry heat of southern Gaul and, with Tilla, found myself wishing for the cool, moist air of Britannia. Her conclusions about the nature of "civilization" are spot on.
Mr. Vance's narration is a perfect match for these characters. I can't imagine anyone else doing Ruso. He captures Ruso's gruff manner as well as his well-hidden empathy and heart. In this book he gives well-nuanced voice to the new characters introduced into Ruso's world. I especially enjoyed the tone of his interpretation of Marcia, Ruso's half-sister. He gives her just the right touch of adolescent whining, pouting and rebellion!
"Gods above!" I rate this as a 5 for sheer enjoyment.
This is the fourth book in the "Medicus" series. First I have to say one of the reasons I started this series was the narrator Simon Vance, I always e..Show More »njoy his reading of a novel, especially historical novels. Each of these book are crime thrillers, set in the time of ancient Rome, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. Also involving the invasion of the British Isles. I am a lover of historical novels and Ruth Downie does a wonderful job with her time lines and her story line. I would recommend, starting the series with book #1 "Medicus", to get the background on the characters, however each book can stand on it's own. I always find myself hating for each of these books to end. I also suggest, the anyone who has not listened to this narrator listen to a sample that Audible offers, then you will know if you like his style.(I suggest that will all books)
The series is moving right along with Tilla and Ruso diverted to a posting far away from the Emperor's planned itinerary... in order to run right into..Show More » the imperial procession. I think this outing features the best mystery of all the books and I'm delighted to say that my favorite character, Tila, is as delightful as ever. I did miss Albanus. Can't he somehow become attached to Ruso so he can stay where the action is? Valens makes a return performance as well as Ruso's arch enemy Mettelus. As always, the dialogue is humorous and the relationship between Tila and Ruso hasn't grown stale at all. It's at the heart of all the books.
All I can do is hope that Ruth Downie is busy working on the sixth in the series. She left us with a slight cliff hanger. Totally recommend.