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Short Synopsis
Gaius Petrius Ruso, a down-on-his-luck army doctor, succumbs to a moment of weakness and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner. Now he has 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. Now Ruso must summon all his forensic knowledge to find a killer who may be after him next.

Full Synopsis
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.

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

"The plot is suspenseful and fluidly told, but the evolving bond between master and servant is at the heart of this excellent first work.... Highly recommended." ---Library Journal Starred Review

"Ruso is a wonderful character, fueled by a dyspeptic machismo and sullen charm reminiscent of Harrison Ford in his heyday. A charming novel." ---Kirkus Starred Review

"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
New York Times Bestseller

Library Journal Review

Kirkus Review

Booklist Review

Medicus

A Novel


Author Ruth Downie

Narrated by Simon Vance

Publication date Mar 20, 2007

Running time 13 hrs

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