Ruso and Tilla, now newlyweds, have moved back to Britannia, where Ruso's old friend and colleague Valens has promised to help him find work. But it isn't the kind of work he'd had in mind - Ruso is tasked with hunting down a missing tax man named Julius Asper. Of course, there's also something else missing: money. And the council of the town of Verulamium is bickering over what's become of it. Compelled to delve deeper by a threat from his old sparring partner, Metellus, Ruso discovers that the good townsfolk may not be as loyal to Rome as they like to appear.
While Tilla tries to comfort Asper's wife, an anonymous well-wisher is busy warning the couple to get away from the case before they get hurt. Despite our hero's best efforts to get himself fired as investigator, he and his bride find themselves trapped at the heart of an increasingly treacherous conspiracy involving theft, forgery, buried treasure, and the legacy of Boudica, the Rebel Queen.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend us your ears: listen to another Novel of the Roman Empire.
©2010 Ruth Downie (P)2011 Tantor
"Downie excels in bringing the ancient world to life as well as making the attitudes and customs of its inhabitants accessible to a modern audience." (Publishers Weekly)
I was disappointed with the book before this one but gave the series one more chance because the first two were quite good.
Ruth Downie again squanders the previous quirkiness of the characters and their relationships; Ruso, Tilla and Valens.
Although there is less of the endless introspection... going through the multitude of "What If ... or IF ... or IF ..." For a man who so thoroughly explores the possible ramifications of his actions, or those of others, this Ruso gets taken for an idiot many times.
Sadly Tilla has much the same interpretation now. The interaction between Ruso and Tilla, which seemed to have been about two very different cultures sorting themselves out, has been entrenched as something far more prosaic.
The first two books I have of Ruso were narrated by Peter Kenny and Sean Barrett. I see the versions currently available are by Simon Vance.
I don't think Vance's style suites the narrative. He seems stuck in a soft drawl with an end of sentence upswing that makes all the sentences come out about the same. He is quite good with character, but Ruso's endless internal dialogue needs more nuance; as Kenny and Barrett gave him. Kenny's and Barrett's Valens is a much more distinct character, less stereotypical.
Vances' sentences as narrator almost always end with the final vowel being drawn out; not "bed", but "be...d" (poorly illustrated here) in a very quiet, flat way. I get that it is a reading, but still ...
I accidentally missed out an hour of the book about half way through. I found I got the gist quickly, so didn't bother going back; sadly. As with the last volume, I might just skip ahead to the final hour.
I'll keep an eye on the series in the hope that it returns to something more like the first two books; and return any (all) that disappoint.
"Ruth Downie doesn't dissapoint"
This is the fourth book in the "Medicus" series. First I have to say one of the reasons I started this series was the narrator Simon Vance, I always enjoy his reading of a novel, especially historical novels. Each of these book are crime thrillers, set in the time of ancient Rome, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. Also involving the invasion of the British Isles. I am a lover of historical novels and Ruth Downie does a wonderful job with her time lines and her story line. I would recommend, starting the series with book #1 "Medicus", to get the background on the characters, however each book can stand on it's own. I always find myself hating for each of these books to end. I also suggest, the anyone who has not listened to this narrator listen to a sample that Audible offers, then you will know if you like his style.(I suggest that will all books)
"A trifle dreary"
Ruth Downie does a great job of involving us in the lives of her characters, and her evocation of life in Roman Britannia is sure handed and masterful. If you have read previous books in this series, you will already be invested in Russo's life with his British wife, Tilla, and if you have not, it will not take you long to develop real affection for them.
Unfortunately, I found the plot for this book to be a bit plodding. It did not engage me consistently as I expect a murder mystery to do whatever its setting may be. In addition, the book fairly limps to its ending with very little in the way of satisfaction. As a result, despite the author's deft touch when it comes to creating very human characters, I found this a dreary listen at times and was ready for it to end.
As usual, Simon Vance's narration was superb.
"money in Roman times"
This book is set in second century A.D. In this book of the series Ruso and Tila have returned to Britannia from their visit to Ruso’s family in Gael. Gallus Petreius Ruso, medic is now retired from the Roman Army and starting off his married life with Tila. He obtains an assignment as an investigator by the procurator’s finances office. Ruso is hired to trace the nearby city of Verulamium’s tax collector, who has disappeared with the city’s tax money. The book is more complex than prior books in the series but is balanced with some humor, murder, babies, missing money, and a great deal of information about the making of money in the second century Rome and in Britannia. I found that most interesting part of the book. Simon Vance does a great job narrating the book. If you enjoy historical fiction about the Roman age this book would interest you.
"Another cool Roman Empire/Brittania mystery"
If you've listened to previous adventures of Russo, the Roman doctor/detective in Brittania, you'll want to listen to this one. If you haven't, you should start with Terra Incognita, the first of this series that I've found on Audible. It's a fun series and I continue to be amazed at how similar life in the Roman Empire was to life today. Human nature simply remains constant. Great series. Highly recommend!
This is one of the top book I have listened to. Simon makes each person seem so real
Not all of the time - but I did enjoy listening and sometime would sit in my car to hear more of the audio before I came into the house from work or I would drive slower so I could listen to more.
Yes - I look for audios that he has performed. I totally enjoy listing to his voice and the way he changes character.
"Waiting for the next one"
I have now finished all four of Ruth Downie's series. The stories and characters grew better with each volume and I can't wait for the next one. Simon Vance is a great narrator. I love the continuing characters that run throughout the four books. I recently listened to the first book in Maddox's SPQR series and was disapointed, having enjoyed the Medicus and his adventures so much.
"An entertaining listen"
While not "high literature", this was well put together story that entertained me on my commute. The setting was unique, although the underlying thread could have been set in any time period. The narrator is quite good and I would listen to more of his works. I will check out more in this series.
Having read the first 3 novels of Guis and his travels in Ancient Rome years ago I am glad to become reacquainted with him and wife. Looking forward to reading the rest of the saga.
Keeps you going right to the end. Masterfully woven mystery. Best yet of this particular series.
"A Great Story--Fun"
This is another enjoyable installment in the series about a crime-fighting doctor in Ancient Rome. The character development continues to improve with each edition of this series, which makes me want to know what will happen next. Ms. Downie makes her characters likable and approachable. While the mystery-aspect of the story may or may not be up to the level of others in the genre, one does not have to be a fan of mystery novels to like this story. I like it for the well-researched historical details and enjoy a fun, easy to follow story.
"Money, money, money"
Ruso and Tilla back in Britain find themselves manipulated and or dragged from London to St Albans (Verulamium). Lots of bad guys, threats and insights into life in a prosperous Roman town and human nature. Good entertainment. Simon Vance has enough lightness in his voice to match the tone of the story well.
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