Customer Reviews for

Medicus (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 12 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.

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, bu...
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.

posted by PainFrame on June 16, 2012

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  • Posted February 13, 2011

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    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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  • Posted July 26, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    Plebian

    I picked this up on a whim after a self-induced marathon watching the HBO series ROME, so poor Miss Downie may be a victim of my high expectations. Ruso is an interesting character; a doctor with the Roman legions in Britannia, but the story and its attempts to roam about in the back edges of known Roman history paled in comparison to the lavish video tale. Still, it is an interesting tale, and Ruso has some interesting friends in interesting places. Worth a rainy afternoon if you enjoy historical fiction.

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  • Posted July 18, 2010

    Readable; poorly written; poorly researched

    This is a readable book, but distinguishable from other "lone Roman in Britain" novels only by its dismal writing style. The author relies heavily on modern idioms and has done such minimal research that I'm inclined to believe she's using "corn" to refer to American maize rather than the rarely-employed general term for grain. The main characters are likable enough, but mostly wooden. Read it if you have nothing else, but you won't be satisfied.

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  • Posted February 16, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    CHARACTERS AND SITUATIONS TO WHICH WE CAN RELATE

    I would never have believed this was a first novel if this hadn't been stated on the jacket. The characterization is excellent and enmeshed with a well planned plot with a satisfying twist to the ending. Characters we can relate to in situations we can relate to in an interesting setting (Roman legions stationed at the outskirts of the Roman Empire in ancient Britain) is a major part of this book's appeal. Many of us have lived from one payday to the next, have had to support and/or been exasperated by relatives, been strapped with bills, and concerned with career opportunities or the lack thereof. Many of us may even work for petty, wife beating bullies similar in demeanor to Administrative Officer Priscus who seemed to derive great pleasure from harassing Medicus Russo. The cynical humor and sarcastic jibes exchanged by Russo and his friend and fellow medical officer, Valens, are amusing and also something to which many of us can relate.

    The plot involves the mystery associated with the deaths of two prostitutes that worked at the same establishment. However, Russo is not the stereotypical detective and did not willingly embrace the role. His sense of right and wrong leads him to ask questions nobody else thinks important as he deals with the challenges of his daily life. The reader finds that although technology has changed significantly over the centuries, human nature probably hasn't changed at all.

    If you are looking for fast paced action moving quickly from one battle scene to the next, this book isn't for you. If you want to see how life might be like as a Roman medical officer in ancient Britain written in a humorous and entertaining style, then this is for you.

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  • Posted February 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Dr. Ruso is In

    Great series. I discovered it cruising through the bargain books and ended up buying the whole series. Well worth reading ... and rereading.

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  • Posted December 16, 2009

    Very good book, I hope for a lengthy series from this author.

    Absorbing book, I hope for more books from this author. I got through this book very quickly because it was so good. I only spotted a couple of historical inaccuracies, far fewer than is usual in the historical fiction genre.

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

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    A nice lite historical read

    Medicus is a mystery taking place in Ancient Rome (to be specific, Britannia). It features Gaius Petreius Ruso, a doctor working at the army hospital. He's i Britannia for a reason; to run away from several personal issues and to fix some (ie; family debt). Throughout the novel he's constantly plagued with a lot of misfortune and a lot of bad luck. He just happens to be at the wrong places at the wrong times. Ruso comes across and unwillingly takes a slave named Tilla who has her own plans up her sleeve (which I won't reveal, read the book!). Overall, there's been two women who were murdered and Ruso reluctantly takes the case even though he didn't want to be involved but since no one seems very interested in two dead dancing girls, someone's got to do it right?

    I like Ruso. Mostly because I find his misfortunes really funny and the way it's written it's as if he has a dark cloud hanging over his head for most of his days. There's comedy mixed into this mystery so it's not a heavy historical fiction. I would call it "lite" not in a negative sense, but rather, although the history is there, it's not so involved like in some historical mysteries I've read where there's heavy plotting, a lot of politics, and a lot of intrigue. Which is why Medicus makes for a good "lite" history read. I especially like the inner thoughts that run through Ruso's head. Throughout the novel, he says little tidbits in his inner voice that makes you want to snicker and laugh.

    He also has his friend Valens who is sort of like his sidekick/dumb friend which also adds to the comedy factor. If you place both of them together in a mouse infested dirty dwelling, you get "The Odd Couple" in Ancient Rome. It's a great laugh and a great read.
    Overall the characters are all right and agreeable. Except of course, the murderer but even then you don't really feel a strong hate for the character.

    My only criticism is, somewhere in between it does tend to slow down a bit. It could have been slightly shorter but perhaps extra plot and story was needed to tie all the strings together. I will be getting the second one in this series as I have enjoyed the first one. It's a good light read after a heavy epic.

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  • Posted July 13, 2009

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    disappointing

    Though I began MEDICUS with high expectations, I found myself unsatisfied with the "unravelling" of its mysteries. Tiresome, and difficult to read at times, I found myself only able to manage through a few pages at each attempt. The end brought little gratification and still left several questions unanswered. MEDICUS definitely has not reserved a place in my permanent library.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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