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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 (2286 )
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4.0 (1758 )
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Story
4.4 (1757 )
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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

    avidreader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    33
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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

    Lehua of Pacifica

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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.

    102 of 105 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Seattle, WA, USA 09-09-07
    David Seattle, WA, USA 09-09-07 Member Since 2009
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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 2007
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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.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sue Montague, CA, USA 04-27-07
    Sue Montague, CA, USA 04-27-07
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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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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!

    10 of 10 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
  • 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.

    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
  • 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
  • MS P WILSON
    6/7/17
    Overall
    "Well plotted, excellently narrated."

    An enjoyable introduction to a series new to me. Not quite Falco or Lindsay Duncan yet, but plenty of potential for development. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

    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
  • Mr David Letham
    5/24/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting historical whodunnit"

    Enjoyed this book set in Roman Britain with some amusing events and nice surprise ending

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dr. Susan Southon
    5/5/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "pleasant change"

    I habitually listen to epic fantasy but fancied a change. I enjoyed Falco on the radio so decided to try this book. It was a very pleasant change from my usual genre and kept me entertained for a few evenings. The hero is likeable character and the story was engaging. I will be purchasing the next in the series after two Brandon Sanderson books that are waiting in my library. The narrator, by the way, is superb.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Seafr
    5/2/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A good find"
    What made the experience of listening to Medicus the most enjoyable?

    Well written and intelligent story. In some ways better than the Falco series, which I know and have enjoyed. It seemed more grown up.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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