Customer Reviews for

Medicus (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series #1)

Average Rating 4
( 117 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Enjoyed this light, fun reading!

An unusual main character, The Medicus, Gaius Petreius Ruso, is an army doctor deployed to a brutish outpost in Roman occupied Britannia. He's a likeable, well-intentioned guy who finds himself meddling in death-investigations due to his innate curiosity and sense of ju...
An unusual main character, The Medicus, Gaius Petreius Ruso, is an army doctor deployed to a brutish outpost in Roman occupied Britannia. He's a likeable, well-intentioned guy who finds himself meddling in death-investigations due to his innate curiosity and sense of justice. Severely overworked at the hospital and out on an errand, he finds himself paying money he can ill-afford, to purchase and thereby rescue a nearly dead slave, a woman he calls Tilla. Tilla believes in speaking her mind, Ruso does not understand women, and he has his work cut out for him in his dealings with her and the other cast of characters that revolve in and around the army hospital. This particular time in history is served up with a realistic sense of extreme hardship, filth and grinding poverty. Some very funny episodes are interspersed with the wretchedness of everyday life in those times, making for a well-balanced read. With a likeable cast of characters, Medicus is nicely written and easily readable, if not overly complex - a relaxing, enjoyable visit with the Medicus. I just purchased the sequel, "Terra Incognita" in order to spend some further time with Ruso and Tilla, and to see what new intrigues they find themselves involved in!

posted by ddysgrl_1 on March 4, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Medicus

Medicus is full of surprising twists and turns which lead to a somewhat unexpected ending, and somewhat predictable ending. Two military doctors in Roman England compete with each other to receive a promotion. One doctor is in the trade for the money and notoriety only,...
Medicus is full of surprising twists and turns which lead to a somewhat unexpected ending, and somewhat predictable ending. Two military doctors in Roman England compete with each other to receive a promotion. One doctor is in the trade for the money and notoriety only, while the other does it because he believes in it and needs the money desperately. The two doctors live together and are in constant opposing views on any topic which comes up in the town they are stationed in. Good character development of the doctors and a few other key players, but a lot is left to be desired of the entire cast. For a historical fiction book, there was lacking any sense of history at all, it really felt more like a work of fiction only. More historical development of the period and characters would have been nice. One doctor gets involved in mysterious murders of local tavern girls which end up being a key role in both of the doctor's future. Good book, quick read, recommend only for light distracting reading.

posted by Hill_Ravens on March 6, 2010

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  • Posted March 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Enjoyed this light, fun reading!

    An unusual main character, The Medicus, Gaius Petreius Ruso, is an army doctor deployed to a brutish outpost in Roman occupied Britannia. He's a likeable, well-intentioned guy who finds himself meddling in death-investigations due to his innate curiosity and sense of justice. Severely overworked at the hospital and out on an errand, he finds himself paying money he can ill-afford, to purchase and thereby rescue a nearly dead slave, a woman he calls Tilla. Tilla believes in speaking her mind, Ruso does not understand women, and he has his work cut out for him in his dealings with her and the other cast of characters that revolve in and around the army hospital. This particular time in history is served up with a realistic sense of extreme hardship, filth and grinding poverty. Some very funny episodes are interspersed with the wretchedness of everyday life in those times, making for a well-balanced read. With a likeable cast of characters, Medicus is nicely written and easily readable, if not overly complex - a relaxing, enjoyable visit with the Medicus. I just purchased the sequel, "Terra Incognita" in order to spend some further time with Ruso and Tilla, and to see what new intrigues they find themselves involved in!

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Medicus

    Medicus is full of surprising twists and turns which lead to a somewhat unexpected ending, and somewhat predictable ending. Two military doctors in Roman England compete with each other to receive a promotion. One doctor is in the trade for the money and notoriety only, while the other does it because he believes in it and needs the money desperately. The two doctors live together and are in constant opposing views on any topic which comes up in the town they are stationed in. Good character development of the doctors and a few other key players, but a lot is left to be desired of the entire cast. For a historical fiction book, there was lacking any sense of history at all, it really felt more like a work of fiction only. More historical development of the period and characters would have been nice. One doctor gets involved in mysterious murders of local tavern girls which end up being a key role in both of the doctor's future. Good book, quick read, recommend only for light distracting reading.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A cozy mystery in an unusual setting

    I'm not a reader of historical fiction, but I do enjoy a cozy mystery. As a cozy, Medicus worked very nicely. It's written with a humorous touch and, as is typical for cozies, the violence occurs "off-page". The protagonist, Gaius Ruso, thought that signing up as a medic with the Roman Legion on the west coast of Brittania would allow him to get away from the complications and expense that women inevitably bring into his personal and professional life. But within a few weeks of taking his post at Deva Victrix, women both dead and alive are messing up his attempt to live a quiet life in the farthest reaches of the Roman Empire, and he quickly ends up in debt. The men he works with — his old doctor friend Valens who convinced Ruso to come to Deva in the first place, and the pain-in-the backside hospital administrator — aren't making things any easier, either. The e-book has a number of editing errors, mainly between sentences. In some places the final period is omitted, and in other places a new paragraph is unexpectedly started in the middle of dialogue. Some chapters begin with an extraneous letter. There's also a quirk where the word "one" seems to have been italicized throughout the e-book. I didn't find these errors to be intolerable, but neither could I overlook them.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2013

    It could be because I have read the entire Lindsey Davis Falco s

    It could be because I have read the entire Lindsey Davis Falco series that this book seemed like an old friend
     from the first. Not Falco, but the Roman part was what made the atmosphere identifiable. Those who want
    non-stop roller-coaster action will not want to stop for a book of this exceptional quality of course, but those
    who do want to read these books will be rewarded with an easy way to learn some history painlessly. Of course
    we can't get too picky here. I do love the history of the Roman Empire, and Saylor's books are also good, but his
    are rather more violent and certainly don't give the balanced look at Roman culture like the Davis series does. I
    have not read the rest of Downie's series but am going to hunt down the rest of the books and certainly read
    all she has to offer in future of Dr. Ruse and his interesting vicissitudes through Britannia.  

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Ancient Rome from a fresh perspective. My favorite thing about

    Ancient Rome from a fresh perspective.

    My favorite thing about this book, other than the setting, is the humor. I really enjoy how much the main character does not even want to be involved in what is happening. He's trying so hard to just be a doctor and do his job, but that is not what fate has in store - very amusing. Any fans of the time period should check this out. I enjoyed it so much that I went back and started watching Rome again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    great

    Great, enjoyable read. Worth the time and money

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Story for Evening Reading

    By a fire in winter or by a window during a good rain storm, this story is perfect, light reading for escapism to another place, another time. The characters are relatively uncomplicated but still interesting for the situations they manage to get themselves into. I recommend it for a nice, mellow read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2013

    Entertaining

    Good characters. Interesting setting. Some plot holes but overall, a good read. I'll read the next book in this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2011

    good

    this book was intresting and is a page turner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Interesting

    A pleasant surprise.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Historical novels hold the expectation of learning something of

    Historical novels hold the expectation of learning something of the past while maintaining a connection with the present. Something along the lines of a reminder that “those who do not know history are bound to repeat it,” I have found, is at the heart of good a good historical novel. This present work is fiction, makes no claims of any connection with historical fact beyond those needed to create a realistic back drop for the action of this very good mystery set in the later years of the Roman Occupation in Britain, yet I felt more enlightened as to a moment of history after reading this book.
    Gaius Petreius Ruso is a “Medicus” (doctor) with the Twentieth (the Valiant and Victorious) Legion of the Roman Army stationed in Deva, Britannia in the year 117. His posting was voluntary, after being told Britannia was “warm, dry and beautiful” by a trusted colleague. It was not until his journey from Londinium (present day London), where he came ashore, to Deva (present day Chester) that he discovered such a description was NOT accurate. Being one of two doctors available, a third doctor recently having left service, Ruso’s life is busy. His family estate in Italy is on the brink of bankruptcy, so most of his pay is sent to pay off a debt created (and hidden) by his late father, so he is largely broke. Shortly before pay day, he is called to do a “postmortem” on a body found in the river. As a result of that one call, he finds himself: the owner of an injured, uncooperative slave; the head investigator of a crime no one believes occurred; the focus of someone who wishes him dead and at the mercy of a hospital administrator whose sole desire is to be assured that everyone is obeying the rules. By the books’ end, many of the questions are resolved, what remains is a cast of characters who are interesting, smart and living in a world that seems to be distant from today, but is still populated by people – and apparently people don’t change.
    The book could be best described as a crime mystery set in the late days of the Roman Empire; the book is not great, but enjoyable. The details of life in one of the important regional centers in a back water of a vast empire are what cause this book to stand out. The author states in the notes that “ancient accounts of Roman Britain are tantalizingly patchy” (p.419) but many of the gaps are being filled by archeology finds. What is presented in the book is fiction, but is based on such finds and what is in the historical record in other parts of the empire during the same time period. The (relatively) advanced medical interventions, military strategy, supply needs, record keeping, etc. related in this work are surprisingly familiar and I found myself “being at home” in moments of Ruso’s experience.
    There is mention of religion and the early hint of what has become the Christian faith in the pages.  This is not a book of religion, or of Spirituality, but the time and culture in which the story is set was deeply defined by religious belief and practice. Seeing how those beliefs and practices inform the action of Ruso and the other characters was both a surprise and delight. I especially liked the spunk and independence of Tilla, Ruso’s slave, whose medical acumen may rival that of the “trained” Medicus and whose determination matches (or exceeds) that of the members of the Roman occupation force.
    .

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2014

    Tries ti cooy the falco series of ancient rome but wont make it

    Never the less an interesting read but lacks humor if the other

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

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    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 29, 2012

    Interesting how the author managed to combine what felt like a m

    Interesting how the author managed to combine what felt like a modern murder mystery with an ancient setting in Roman England. The young doctor is a kind and honorable man who stumbles comically through life in the Roman legion while being forced to find a murderer.

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  • Posted June 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Slow Start, Enjoyable Finish

    I had a little bit of trouble first getting into the book, but after the first 100 pages things really picked up and I finished the rest of pretty quickly. Contrary to some other reviews, I think Ruso is an interesting character and the book was certainly an enjoyable, light read.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    Hard to get into

    This book was very slow and didnt have a captivating plot. Disappointed and will not read the rest of the series.

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  • Posted February 26, 2011

    Great Read!

    Ruso is a captivating character. No matter how hard he tries, he just can't avoid being pulled into trouble. Ruth Downie has done an excellent job with this series. Once you start reading her books, you just can't stop!

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  • Posted February 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Excellent Read

    This is an interesting story with well-drawn characters and an intriguing historical setting. It's unexpectedly humorous as well.

    In reference to the review that mentioned what was perceived as the anachronistic grinding of "corn" in the book: "corn" in this case is just Brit-speak for what Americans call "wheat."

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  • Posted February 7, 2011

    Good Series Beginning

    Contrary to some other reviews I thought this was a good read and set the tone for the series very nicely.

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    Recommended

    I found this to be a very interesting book that was hard to put down. The characters were well developed and the plot twists kept my interest on the story. I would have given it 4 stars had the author not have had the women grinding corn. Corn was not introduced to Europe until the late 15th or early 16th century.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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