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Medicus Audiobook

Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire

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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

4.0 (2364 )
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4.4 (1825 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Susan Richmond, VA 08-31-07
    Susan Richmond, VA 08-31-07 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great listen"

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

    30 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lehua of Pacifica Hawaii 03-29-08
    Lehua of Pacifica Hawaii 03-29-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "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.

    103 of 106 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 09-09-07
    David 09-09-07
    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.

    38 of 39 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer WA, United States 11-06-09
    Jennifer WA, United States 11-06-09 Member Since 2017
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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.

    36 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ralph 03-02-11
    Ralph 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.

    31 of 32 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rose Chesapeake, OH, United States 03-28-07
    Rose Chesapeake, OH, United States 03-28-07 Member Since 2012
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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.

    62 of 65 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine West Fargo, ND, USA 08-01-08
    Catherine West Fargo, ND, USA 08-01-08 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Entertaining"

    Entertaining--not historically accurate, but the main character is determinedly grumpy and yet a softie on the inside! I'd love to see a continuation of the series, it was worth listening to.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue Montague, CA, USA 04-27-07
    Sue Montague, CA, USA 04-27-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    21 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Either San Diego, CA, United States 04-03-07
    Either San Diego, CA, United States 04-03-07 Member Since 2012
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    "All hail the power of Rome"

    I thought this novel to be fantastic. The storyline along with the history was brillant!!And to top it off the talents of the narrator were exceptional!! If you like Roman history or anything to do with Rome then this book is for you

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ana 07-05-08
    Ana 07-05-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "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.

    33 of 37 people found this review helpful
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  • Mary Carnegie
    UK
    10/18/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I'm hoping a successor to Falco!"

    I've been a Falco fan since I first heard the dramatisations of the earlier books on Radio 4 with Anton Lesser (available on Audible, like the whole book versions with a number of narrators of varying quality!). So I've heard them all, and have been looking for another series of historical mysteries especially in Roman Empire times. I don't want just wars, armies and blokes being macho. So some series have been returned to sender!
    I don't want Latin chick lit, just some continuing characters I might like or hate.
    Ruso seems to fit the bill, so far, and Simon Vance reads well, with a rather neutral English accent which is easy to listen to, but has developed a recognisable accent for the British characters- - sort of mild Ulster or Ulster-Scots diffentiates locals from invaders.
    The English hadn't arrived yet!!
    Simon Vance has however developed some American pronunciations which come across like an obscenity in a sermon - unexpected wrong notes, like privacy- just a clunk in an otherwise good performance. There does seem to be a tendency for writers of European origin writing about European events to adopt US English, no doubt hoping for bigger sales, Martin Walker's Bruno novels being a prime example, but diversity of language is part of literature!

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    3/10/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting and informative"

    I am a glutton for a whodunnit! I found that I could put it down but as I listen to them to get to sleep (blocking out all other thoughts) I did keep rewinding. I found the characters well performed and enjoyed it so much that I have downloaded the second novel for my holiday. Appparently, according to reviews, it is even better.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Wendy b
    3/14/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Held my attention from the beginning"

    The narrator used a range of distinguishable voices to help keep the story clear and flowing. This is a good story enhanced by the telling

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Adrian
    Hitchin, United Kingdom
    3/9/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent in all respects"

    I would recommend this audio story to anyone. I have read all of the Ruso series. This is the first one. The storyline of all of this series is excellent and the characters and the relationship between them so ver believable. The humor is subtle but there and well done

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Philip Dixon
    Bahrain
    9/21/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Medicus "

    excellent story beautifully performed really felt a part of the story will certainly listen to more in the series

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • critical friend
    England
    9/19/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A medical detective "operating" in ancient Rome"
    What did you like most about Medicus?

    The way that historical information was woven into the story without interrupting the narrative flow.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Medicus?

    Don't want to spoil it, but the main character is in danger several times from various sources.


    What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    The emotional attitude of the characters toward each other and a reminder of their rank or station in society.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not particularly tense, but is interesting and reaches a satisfying conclusion.


    Any additional comments?

    This is first in the series and obviously introduces some strong characters who appear in later books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Mr
    8/17/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good reading story could give more"

    I really liked the performance and enjoyed the Roman setting some more intricacy to the plot would have made it excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Debbie Rowe
    6/28/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Roman hero."
    Where does Medicus rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This audiobook rates 8.5/10 in my estimation.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Medicus?

    Meeting and mending Tilla.


    Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favourite?

    The Medicus.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Listened to 2 or 3 sittings.


    Any additional comments?

    Audible has been recommending this audiobook to me for a long time but it did not appeal to me. I'm so glad I changed my mind. I'm on to the 4th book now and they all have the same quality of story telling and characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Michael Bath
    6/13/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "did not enjoy"

    this is a book i could not.take to so returned it rather boring i thouht

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • GlosterLass
    Forest of Dean, UK
    6/1/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A brilliant 'whodunnit' set in Roman Britain"

    As a lover of historical fiction and murder-mysteries, I was delighted to discover 'Medicus' set in Roman Britain. It's beautifully written with very believable characters and the plot twists and turns, keeping you guessing. I was slightly irritated by the narrator giving the British 'Tilla' an Irish accent, I couldn't fathom the reason for that, especially as members of her tribe were given accents that sounded more Northern, and why Roman doormen were given harsh South London accents. But this was the only gripe - the rest of the narration was excellent, a pleasant voice to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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