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Extended Audio Sample Medicus: A Novel Audiobook, by Ruth Downie 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 Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Medicus Investigations Release Date: March 2007 ISBN: 9781400173631
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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, 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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Wonderfully entertaining...I hope Downie is planning a series. Ruso is too good a character for just one book. Newsweek
  • “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 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 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 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 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. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen Morgan | 2/2/2014

    " Very different story line - House meets the Roman Legion! I read all of the books and loved them. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Delta | 1/26/2014

    " My second reading and found it better than the first time. Book is in my permanent library. I had not been tracking Ms. Downie and find there are two more books in the series! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zgardenldy | 1/19/2014

    " Nice Mystery set in the time of the Roman invasions into Britian. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jody Crago | 1/2/2014

    " I don't usually read historical fiction and I almost never read mystery novels. That being said, I genuinely liked this book. I am planning to read the next in the series. It made me want to read more non-fiction about this era. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tanya | 12/11/2013

    " A good historical mystery. The main character is a buffon (in a good way), pretty funny, good characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dharma Bum 108 | 12/5/2013

    " A great historical mystery that really brings Roman age Britain to life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cleoqc | 10/29/2013

    " More serious than Falco, but still humourous in parts. My kind of Roman era historical fiction, and this one is a mystery too! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alisa | 8/29/2013

    " Delightful discovery, nicely read. Good world building. Made my trip to Seattle and back bearable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nora | 7/11/2013

    " Funny and charming. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 12/5/2012

    " The reading by Simon Vance is wonderful and the author, Ruth Downie, does a marvelous job weaving her fictional accounts of Britannia under Roman rule with the sparce facts available. The characters are interesting and the story satisfying. I look forward to the next installment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gabriella | 10/7/2012

    " Avery good story; a very good character; very well written. I started reading and stayed with it until I finished. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Patty | 3/3/2012

    " It was ok. I got it for free on Kindle or I wouldn't have read it, but I was intrigued by it being set in the Roman Empire. Not the best, but I guess I enjoyed it well enough. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Khuck | 8/31/2011

    " Ancient Rome, under-appreciated physician protagonist--what's not to love? Just my type! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dave Stark | 5/5/2011

    " I listened to this book as an audiobook and while it wasn't as good as Lindsay Davis' work, it wasn't terrible either. For those that like Roman historical fiction and have an interest in Roman Britain, this is a must read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mimi | 5/1/2011

    " I like it. Set in the days of the Roman Empire in the outpost that is now Great Britain, a medic/doctor for the Roman army finds himself involved in a murder mystery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tclearyn3 | 4/13/2011

    " I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book! The plots intertwined & somehow Downie wrote in such a way that I forgot that it was historical fiction. I was glad that I had a 2nd book to continue enjoying the characters that I was routing for! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael | 4/11/2011

    " Pretty cool whodunit but set in roman occupied Britain. Gives a different scenario from the typical detective novels. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Anu | 4/9/2011

    " Ways to improve this series 1) more Tilla 2) fewer back-pattingly clever tangents on Roman hospital administration.

    "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jon | 3/28/2011

    " Meh. Wouldn't bother. Ostensibly set in Roman occupied England, but you'd never really know it apart from the occasional mention of legionnaires. Could have been anywhere and almost any when really. Characters were as deadly dull as the plot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michele | 3/17/2011

    " I liked the storyteller's humor more than the story itself, but overall it's a quick enjoyable read about a doctor in the Roman legion when they occupied Britain. "

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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.

About the Narrator

Simon Vance (a.k.a. Robert Whitfield) is an award-winning actor and an AudioFile Golden Voice with fifty-eight Earphones Awards. He has won thirteen prestigious Audie Awards and was Booklist’s very first Voice of Choice in 2008. He has narrated more than eight hundred audiobooks over almost thirty years, beginning when he was a radio newsreader for the BBC in London.