A Novel of the Roman Empire

Book - 2007
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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 as Chester, England) does little to improve his mood, and after a straight thirty six 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.

Published in the UK as Medicus (Ruso) and the Disappearing Dancing Girls .

Publisher: New York : Bloomsbury, 2007.
ISBN: 9781596912311
Branch Call Number: DOWNI
Characteristics: ix, 386 p.


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Oct 29, 2017

I have read all five books in the 'Medicus" series - all were very enjoyable. They should be read in the correct order.

Aug 10, 2016

It's pretty rare in a formulaic genre like this that an author can maintain a sense of doubt as to the outcome, well done.

Quite good, let's hope the rest of the series maintain the quality.

Mar 28, 2016

I was looking for something to read over Easter and as there were no new offerings from some of my old favourites I thought L would try a "new" murder mystery writer. I am really glad I did as I enjoyed it immensely and am looking forward to getting the next in the series. Ruth Downie is to me on par with my usual favourite Susanne Grogory.

Jan 24, 2015

Excellent re-creation of first-century Britain in the style of early-21st century mystery writing. Very likeable protagonist. Looking forward to reading future installments.

Feb 14, 2014

This is the first of a series. We are introduced to the difficult life of a Medicus to a division of the Roman army, as he arrives at his new post in Britannia, a country with rebellious natives, mud, and unsympathetic officials. In trying to follow the precepts of his profession, he buys a slave with a broken arm to save her from death at the hands of a slave dealer. Since he can't pronounce her tribal name, he calls her Tilla (Useful). His further adventures in trying to stop a rash of deaths of prostitute slaves and still stay in the good graces of his commanding officers, makes for very exciting reading. The author has thoroughly researched Roman Britain. Her descriptions of the time and place as well as the characters thoroughly engage you in their lives and time.

Apr 25, 2013

Excellent read, I learned a lot about the historical time and found the mystery fascinating.

Jan 21, 2011

This book was good... just not amazing. I enjoyed it and it was very entertaining, it just fell a little short of my expectations as far as characters and plot go. I was pretty funny, and the topic of sex trafficking is still relevant today. I think I would read a sequel if/when there is one, but Medicus probably isn't a book I will read again.

Mar 30, 2010

This was recommended to me by someone in the library I didn't know. This isn't normally something I would read or listen to, but I found it very enjoyable. Funny at times.

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