Medicus (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series #1)

Medicus (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series #1)

by Ruth Downie
3.7 121

Hardcover(First Edition)

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Medicus (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series #1) by Ruth Downie

Divorced and down on his luck, Gaius Petreius Ruso has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. In a moment of weakness, after a straight thirtysix-hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to compassion 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 and 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.

With a gift for comic timing and historical detail, Ruth Downie has conjured an ancient world as raucous and real as our own.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781596912311
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication date: 03/06/2007
Series: Gaius Petreius Ruso Series , #1
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

In 2004, Ruth Downie won the Fay Weldon section of BBC3’s End of Story competition; Medicus is her first novel. She is married with two sons and lives in Milton Keynes, England.

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Medicus (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series #1) 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 121 reviews.
ddysgrl_1 More than 1 year ago
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!
Cataloger More than 1 year ago
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.  
Doug_Pardee More than 1 year ago
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.
PainFrame More than 1 year ago
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.
lordofbooks More than 1 year ago
Great, enjoyable read. Worth the time and money
Hill_Ravens More than 1 year ago
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.
P_In_Solomons More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good characters. Interesting setting. Some plot holes but overall, a good read. I'll read the next book in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A pleasant surprise.
Malisa Yommarath More than 1 year ago
this book was intresting and is a page turner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story and characterizations, plus fascinating historic detail.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a little to muddy for me. Not so much a mystery but a weird romance novel. Well written though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
YoyoMitch More than 1 year ago
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. .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Roman series. This was not under 2.98 lost leader so suggest library borrow
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Catahoula_Mama More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago