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Extended Audio Sample Medicus: A Novel, by Ruth Downie, Simon Vance Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,441 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ruth Downie, Simon Vance Narrator: Simon Vanc Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Medicus Investigations Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Fans of Alexander McCall Smith will delight in this series debut…A strong start for Downie, whose series joins those by Lindsay Davis and Stephen Saylor on the ancient Rome beat but adds a bit more humor to the mix of period detail and suspense.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Downie’s auspicious debut sparkles with beguiling characters and a vividly imagined evocation of a hazy frontier.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Laura McLean | 2/18/2014

    " I loved this book! Our hero, Medicus, a doctor in ancient Roman-occupied Britain, is a fascinating and totally lovable guy. The book jacket compares him to young Harrison Ford, and I think that's perfect--surly, oblivious to his own charm, professional, and totally adorable underneath a mildly prickly exterior. The writing somehow makes it easy to imagine living in Deva, Brittania (an area in a period I know nothing about) and all the characters are well-written and very engaging. I am really looking forward to the sequel, Terra Incognita, and any further adventures of Gaius Petreius Ruso. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Annie Michelle | 2/17/2014

    " i was not sure about this but...i was pleasantly surprised, very different type of subject, will read the series "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kirby | 2/6/2014

    " Ms. Downie has created an engaging character in her Roman doctor Ruso. I'll definitely read her second tale of Ruso in ancient Britannia. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by din picaso | 2/3/2014

    " slow pace... i was already in the middle of the book but i was still wondering, what's the story? but all in all, a good debut novel. "

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About the Author
Author Ruth Downie

Ruth Downie won the Fay Weldon section of BBC3’s End of Story competition in 2004. She is the author of the highly acclaimed Roman Empire series, which began with her first novel, Medicus. She is married with two sons and lives in Milton Keynes, England.