Persona Non Grata (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series #3)

Persona Non Grata (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series #3)

by Ruth Downie

NOOK Book(eBook)

$10.49 $14.40 Save 27% Current price is $10.49, Original price is $14.4. You Save 27%. View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now
LEND ME® See Details


At long last, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, Tilla, are headed home-to Gaul. Having received a note consisting only of the words "COME HOME!" Ruso has (reluctantly, of course) pulled up stakes and brought Tilla to meet his family.

But the reception there is not what Ruso has hoped for: no one will admit to sending for him, and his brother Lucius is hoping he'll leave. With Tilla getting icy greetings from his relatives, Lucius' brother-in-law mysteriously drowned at sea, and the whole Ruso family being sued for bankruptcy, it's hard to imagine an unhappier reunion. That is, until Severus, the plaintiff in the bankruptcy suit, winds up dead, and the real trouble begins...

Engrossing, intricate, and-as always-wonderfully comic, Ruth Downie's latest is a brilliant new installment in this irresistible series. This is everything we've come to expect from our charming, luckless hero.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608191116
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication date: 07/14/2009
Series: Gaius Petreius Ruso Series , #3
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 151,191
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Ruth Downie is the author of the New York Times bestselling Medicus and Terra Incognita. She is married with two sons and lives in Milton Keynes, England.
Ruth Downie is the author of the New York Times bestselling Medicus, Terra Incognita, Persona Non Grata, and Caveat Emptor. She is married with two sons and lives in Devon, England.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Persona Non Grata brims with the complex characters and rich detail that have made this series a must for period mystery buffs." —-Booklist

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Persona Non Grata (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series #3) 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading the first two and it seems with each book I've read from Ruth Downie, they improve each time. Although I found the first two a little on the dry side at times, Persona Non Grata was different. I was more interested in the book, and felt myself turning the pages a lot more quickly than the first two in the series. I really had to sympathize with Gaius. Not only does he always get the short end of the stick in life, but you can't help but laugh at his predicaments because things just seem to go from bad to worse when he's around. His family isn't the most supportive either but they were such a fun read and there was more than one moment where I found myself chuckling out loud. (Try reading Gaius and his fight with his brother oh my, that was a good laugh.) There is more of a development in the relationship between Gaius and Tilla. I like how their character development is never quite finished but they develop enough so the reader is satisfied with the way they are throughout the novel. I enjoyed reading about both of them in this book much more. There's more feeling and emotion between the two. I love how Gaius just wants to take care of Tilla, but she goes out on her own anyway. I like her independence and her strength. The two really do compliment each other nicely. I enjoyed the plot. Suspects were great and each had a good motive. I was kept guessing although I did have a hunch about the last third of the book. Nevertheless I did like how the book ended and there was more action mentioned to make the plot more exciting and the pace was faster. It was also interesting to note, that early Christians are introduced into the story. I thought that was well done and it did give the plot a much more historical feel to it. When it comes to historical accuracy, I liked it and it seemed pretty accurate to me. Downie's descriptions are well written and the setting is pictured clearly. I believe she does provide an Author's Note at the back to explain certain inconsistencies and provides more information. I do wish there was more to the 'Dramatis Personae' at the beginning of the book. It is a little hard to keep track of all the characters (Gaius has a family that could rival The Brady Bunch) plus the suspects, plus other secondary characters. It's a lot to figure out and I thought the list of characters in the beginning could use a little more clarification. To fans of Gaius, it's a great book. I absolutely enjoyed this and the way the book ended paves the way for much more to look forward to. I believe the change of setting is what helped a lot for this book (and quite possibly the series). It's a great addition to this series, and I'm looking forward to the next one. Ruth Downie just gets better and better with each book!
MrsLee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Third in the Russo series, this story has the Medicus and Tilla returning to Rome. The family has called him home, but the welcome is not warm, especially for the barbarian woman. The estate is in chaos and mysteries abound.I enjoyed reading this, and though I had not read the previous books, I did not feel lost or disconnected in the narrative. Ruth Downie has a nice way of making the characters in her book both interesting and understandable. She also does a good job of setting the place for the story. Without much effort, I simply fell in along with the characters in their travels and activities. At times the story became slow, but towards the end the pace was lively. As for the mystery, I think she did a pretty good job. Certain aspects took me by surprise and I never felt cheated in the reveal.I wouldn't know about the historical accuracy, but after reading some comments by the author, I felt that she was not only trying to be accurate, but also trying to make the historical aspect real for us, rather than some far off storyland. She did a good job of that. As a Christian, I have to say that her scenes of the people of Christos interacting with the Pagans were delightful. One can see how they were perceived as being ridiculous, without them being so, and the misunderstandings that arose from some of the preposterous things they said, which could only be understood correctly by those in the Christos group. Still true today. My favorite scene in the book was the barbarian, Tilla, attending a Christos meeting. Very well done.All in all, I liked this story well enough to seek out the earlier tales and look for more in the future.
CraigStepp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persona Non Grata is the third novel in Ruth Downie's series about Gaius Petreius Ruso, Ruso is a surgeon with the Roman Legions in Britain. He's summoned home by a strangely vague letter. What he finds when he arrives at the family farm in Gaul is more than strange. Ruso and his Briton servant/lover, Tilla find themselves in the middle of family, love,death, matchmaking, bankruptcy and betrayal. Ruso is a treasure. Don,t miss this series.
cweller on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persona Non Grata is a historical murder mystery. The story itself seemed interesting but I found that the writing failed to grab my attention and hold it. For me the dialogue seemed a little weak and I wish the author had been more descriptive of the Roman world and Roman life, as this may have served to draw me into the story.
cee2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book caught my attention early and kept it. Ruso responds to a summons from his brother to come home . When he arrives with his companion, Tilla, they find themselves engulfed the the family perils of debt, possible bankruptcy, a brother-in-law drowned at sea and the death of their biggest creditor in the Ruso home. And then there are his personal problems: he neglects to properly introduce Tilla and she is treated as a servant, there's no money for his half-sisters' doweries, his step-mother is trying to marry him off to the wealthy widow next door,and worst of all, he's the prime suspect in the death of their creditor.There are a lot of threads to this plot and they are neatly brought together. I liked the character of Tilla. Although Gaul is so different from her home, she has a sense of herself that allows her to take action when she thinks it is needed to help Ruso and others. I also enjoyed the subplot involving the followers of Christos. I liked this book and plan to read the first 2 books in the series.
amerigoUS on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ruso takes leave from the army in Britannia after receiving an oblique note from his brother in Gaul to return home. When he and his "barbarian" lover, Tilla, arrive, it's to find the Ruso family in chaos: a brother-in-law mysteriously drowned at sea, the family estate deep in debt and under threat of seizure, and their main creditor, Severus, suddenly dead from poisoning. There are many suspects in this historical mystery and Ms. Downie does a fine job of juggling all the characters, making the most of some of their eccentricities. In fact, the light, wry humor the author injects into her dialogue gives the feel of a cozy mystery set during the Roman Empire. She manages to touch on various aspects of Roman life, including the budding Christian movement still in its infancy, delightfully and amusingly drawn.Persona Non Grata is an enjoyable read. The writing in skillful and the historical background interesting. The mystery in not one of page-turning suspense, but entertaining nonetheless, as the medicus Ruso tries to clear his name, solve familial disputes, and reclaim his patrimony from shysters, all the while trying to solve a murder.
varielle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ruth Downie's Medicus series follows the adventures of ancient Roman army doctor Ruso, who frequently finds himself embroiled in a mystery he feels compelled to solve. It is similar to the Falco and Gordius ancient mystery series. Without looking too closely at the historic details, Downie's depiction of ancient Roman army and social life feels reasonable. His concerns with his job, his patients, his family and his lovelife all flesh out a cosy read.
jpsnow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book for the story and the author's creativity in bringing to life everyday details from the Roman empire. It's not a page turner, but the plot is intriguing and the character nuances and setting descriptions make for a very enjoyable piece. I intend to read more by Ruth Downie.
JimPratt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The premise of this book, and apparently of a series involving the same central characters, involves a second century Roman physician, Gaius Ruso, attached to a legion occupying Britain, and his female British ¿companion¿ Tilla, who team up to solve a murder mystery in his hometown in Gaul. Plot complications include the imminent financial ruin of Gaius¿ family, a political conspiracy, a match-making stepmother, and a love-struck younger sister trying to save a young gladiator from certain destruction. Scenes and interaction between characters are vividly drawn and hold the reader¿s interest. While the descriptions of scenes, costumes and situations seem consistent with the period in which the novel is set, the dialogue and the relationships between the characters have a 21st century flavor, leaving the reader with a jarring sense of incongruity.. Much is made of the dissonance of Tilla¿s British culture and that of Roman Gaul, which is mildly interesting but does not really contribute to the plot development. In fact the uncertainty of her relationship with Gaius is hinted at, and toyed with in this story but does not quite advance to the point of being a plausible factor in this story, making a reader who has not read previous stories feel somewhat an outsider.
momweaver on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a great series for people interested in everyday life in Ancient Rome. I only started the series when I was told that I won this one, and I'm glad that I did.
lisanicholas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
On the face of it, Ruth Downie's Medicus series (of which this is apparently the third, but the first of my reading) seems to be trying to cash in on Lindsey Davis's success with her Falco novels, and in fact the two series have a number of things in common: the sleuth is a Roman of the early(ish) Empire, outside the ruling elite but with a view into both the upper echelons and the lower social elements, able to move about the sprawling Roman empire (lots of different locales for different stories); each investigator has an unconventional girlfriend/wife who tags along on his adventures, and the family of each occasionally provides color and humor to the story.That said, I must admit that I enjoyed this novel more than many of Davis's Falco stories (they often seem so intent on humorous and unlikely characters that the story itself gets lost in the yucks). I like Ruso, the army physician who, in this novel, must solve a murder in order to save his family (and perhaps himself) from ruin; I like his paramour, the British Tilla, who is able to look at provincial Roman life with the eyes of a stranger; I enjoyed the family relations who have realistic faults and foibles, and help us to see Ruso as more than a detective. I enjoyed the setting, a small city of southern Gaul during the rein of the emperor Hadrian, which is both familiar and exotic to anyone familiar with the south of France today. And most of all, I like the fact that this novel actually has an interesting mystery at the heart of it, one which is not overwhelmed by the personal backstory of Ruso's family life but, in the end, entwined in it. I acquired this novel through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program, and I'll be looking forward to reading more of Downie's Medicus Ruso series.
tag100 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ms. Downie continues the adventures of her protagonist, begun in the book Medicus, as he lives his life in the first-century Roman empire and solves murder mysteries along the way. While I enjoyed reading this book, it was not as well-written as the previous two in the series.
Antares1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I hadn't read any of this Ruth Downie's Roman Empire novels before, but when I won this one as an ARC through the Early Reviewers program, I picked up and read the previous two while waiting for this one to arrive. I was pleasantly surprised by the series as a whole and this book is probably the best one so far. When I got the announcement that I'd won this book, I couldn't remember why I'd requested it, but I'm glad I got it.The story follows the adventures of Roman Army Medic Ruso. The first book picks up with his arrival in Britannia at the time of the transition between the Emperor Trajan and the Emperor Hadrian. The second book follows Ruso and Tilla to her home village. In this third book. Ruso gets a mysterious message from his brother to return to the family farm.I would characterize this series as sort of a M*A*S*H meets the Roman Empire. The humor is there, but not so overly focused on to take over the mystery. The main character of Ruso, who is endearing in a blundering sort of way. He's always trying to do the right thing and ends up making things worse. Somehow it all works out in the end, and he discovers the true bad guy.I wasn't too happy with the characterization of Tilla in this outing. She seemed to fall to easily into the role of a servant. In Britain she was always exceedingly independent and wouldn't let herself be treated as a slave, eventhough, technically she was.The side characters of Ruso's family were entertaining, as was his exchanges with his ex-wife. Anyone that doesn't mind a light hearted look at the Roman empire would probably enjoy this series.
koboldninja.5 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ruth Downie has created a world which is well rooted in the historical provincial life under Rome and her characters are relatively sympathetic, and even the story is a very readable, if not remarkably novel mystery plot. Despite all of this, the story came across as unbearably vapid and the plotting of this readable novel a grave weakness. The single most troubling point for me was the use of short chapters to artificially simulate plot movement and action, instead of plotting the story so that action could occur through the actual storytelling.
cuicocha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the third in Ruth Downie's series about Gaius Petreius Ruso, a doctor with the Roman legions, and his slave/ lover, Tilla, the barbarian from Brittania. After a disappointing second novel in the series, Terra Incognita, I had feared that the series would continue a downward spiral but was pleased to see that the author has made a strong return to success with this release.Characters which had been introduced in previous works were shaped and grew noticeably during the course of the story. New characters, especially Lucius and Arria, proved to be well developed and enhanced and helped carry the story immeasureably.Tilla once again proved to be the stabilizing character and with Ruso providing the muscle, the story moves from the chase through the Gallic countryside to a pursuit through the gladiatorial arena and neighboing farmstead to corner conmen and poisoner. The plot is well-crafted though somewhat slow in the first half of the novel, but this leisurely pace seems to be one of the author's goals in providing a story which entertains.
amanda4242 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persona Non Grata isn¿t a riveting read, but it is enjoyable. The mystery element of the story is more fully developed that in the first two books in the series and I look forward to reading more of Russo¿s and Tilla¿s adventures (even if I do think their personal relationship is severely underwritten).
baroquem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is another of those books where I didn't know quite what to expect going in. I've never read anything by Ruth Downie before, and I requested the title through Early Reviewers primarily because of the "historical detective story" hook.It proved to be an enjoyable enough read for the most part. There were a few places where the story dragged; and having finished it, I'm still not sure I fully comprehend the full motive and logic behind the crimes. (I'm quite willing to chalk that up to my own thickheadedness, however, if they should prove to be perfectly lucid to everyone else.)I appreciated the light humor scattered throughout the story. I suppose that my biggest disappointment with the book was that I very seldom really felt as if the events were taking place in the ancient Roman empire. That may be a tall order, but that's what I look for in historical fiction: an immersive experience. In this case, something about the premise didn't quite click; perhaps it was the use of contemporary speech? I'm not sure.Still, this is a pleasantly light story for the many times when that's what's needed.
Kirconnell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good writing style, well developed characters, close attention to historical detail, and an intriguing plot....what more could you ask for in a novel? Ms Downie has delivered on this third book in the Medicus series. A joy to read.
Unreachableshelf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The mystery plot itself was put together well enough, but this book does not have the depth to its historical roots that I prefer. So there are some scenes at a gladitorial event, and there are some secret Christians, but I had the feeling that the same murder mystery could have occurred in any time or place and only the professions of one or two minor characters would need to be changed (having next to no influence on even minor side plots as a result). Those who are happy with historical-lite mysteries should enjoy it; those who are primarily interested in the Roman Empire should choose something else.
jmchshannon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I find that in order to best write most of these reviews, I have to give myself a few days to process what I've read. This book falls into this category. My initial impression was that I was unsatisfied with Ruso and Tilla and the entire setting. All of the characters' actions seemed too...modern - sitting at a desk, receiving mail, looking over the bills, and so forth. The language, however, is what really bothered me. It was as if our current vernacular was taken and put into a Roman or Gaulish setting, which to me is not a true accurate historical picture. In fact, I would find myself utterly disgusted by some of the phraseology.In addition, I was disappointed in the characterization of the women. Other than Tilla, most of the women in the book are silly, trite, and utterly obsessed with shopping and appearances. I have no use for women of this nature, and when Ruso expresses a desire that he could find a way to force the women to listen to him, I found myself wishing he could too.However, I say that and know that I had a very difficult time putting down the book. I stayed up late, read through lunch, and so forth. I was genuinely interested in solving the murder mystery and understand how Ruso was going to solve his credit problems. The book couldn't have been that bad if I read it obsessively over the course of a few days!!I was fascinated by descriptions of Gaulish/Roman medicine and even of the events at the amphitheatre. I wish Ms. Downie would have gone into greater detail because, to me, it appeared to be the most authentic historical portions of the book.My feelings about Persona Non Grata remain mixed. I still remain fairly turned off by the language and some of the situations described in the book. And yet, I really enjoyed getting to know Ruso, his family, and especially Tilla. As I mentioned, I truly cared about what happened to him, how he was going to get out of trouble and how the book was going to resolve itself. Therefore, in spite of its apparent flaws, I would have to recommend this book to others. I may even have to hit the library and pick up the first two books to read the first few adventures of Ruso and Tilla.Thank you to Bloomsbury Marketing for the opportunity to review this ARC!
DWWilkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ruso grows on you. Like I mentioned in the Medicus review he is an unlikely protagonist, but thoroughly enjoyable. Called home to find that his life is really spinning out of control. Beset by forces from every end. And then of course there was a body at the beginning again. Well a death anyway.A death that does not really impact on things to mid way through the tale as Ruso has so much on his plate including finding why he was called home since no one wants to fess up. This leaves us wondering was that body important. Yes and no.It leads us to wonder are these mysteries? Or does our hero always have bad days. That seems to really be the theme of these books. Ruso's charm is that he is in a foreign world to us, that of Rome at the height of empire, where he is just a low citizen who ends up with the world twisting around him and thrown into far more than any one man should have to deal with.So all that makes this series very good. But then we have the downfall. Sure Christianity was coming into play. But it is introduced so gratuitously, and then our Heroine, the slave turned girlfriend, adopts it that it is irrelevant. There are scenes which should just not have been written and we had to suffer reading.What could have been a better read, and even a repeated read is let down by some proselytizing. I don't want to sound anti-western since I am western, but the author needed to be deft and subtle. Instead she clobbered us over the head. Hopefully this habit will disappear in later books.
besina on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persona Non Grata is an excellent mystery set in early Rome. An enthralling read with a plot that just keeps you turning the pages! Fans of Steven Saylor's "Roma sub Rosa" series are sure to find this an entertaining read, as will anyone with an interest in the Roman era, or those who just enjoy a good character-driven story.
dougwood57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ruth Downie returns with the third book in her Ruso the Medicus series. Ruso is a military doctor in the Roman army who was introduced to readers a couple years ago while serving Brittania in Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire. In this volume, fans get to meet the family we have heard about from a distance as it were. Ruso is recalled by an urgent letter from his brother - or so it seems.Ruso arrives (with his `barbarian' lover Tilla in tow) to find his family fortune in shambles. When their chief creditor drops dead (apparently from poisoning) during a visit to Ruso's home, suspicion quickly focuses on Ruso. The rest of the book is spent unraveling that mystery and reinstating the family fortunes.Along the way the reader learns a bit about Roman life, law, politics, and entertainment. Tilla pointedly questions who are the real barbarians, when part of the `games' sponsored by a local politician include the standard execution of criminal by tying the thief to post and letting wild animals eat them for dinner. Tilla also has a brush with the group of Christos and her attempts to understand this god who is everywhere and knows everything are fun.As with the first two books, Downie uses light touch to combine a mystery with some history. Fans of historical mysteries, especially Roman ones like Steven Saylor's The Triumph of Caesar: A Novel of Ancient Rome (Roma Sub Rosa), will enjoy Persona Non Grata: A Novel of the Roman Empire. Recommended.
Bookmarque on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The third installment of this series is the least interesting so far. Ruso¿s domestic woes did not hold my interest and I stalled. Had to bring the book to a waiting room to read it. I wasn¿t exactly forcing myself, as the story did become more interesting once it focused on solving the mystery rather than the household complaints, but it did require discipline to finish.The women in this one were nearly all annoying. Shrill. Selfish. Narrow. Haughty. Flighty. Ig. Even Tillla grated this time; she seemed awash in self-pity the whole time. Only Lollia seemed remotely interesting and she hardly had any stage time and even fewer lines. The men don¿t fare much better, honestly; overbearing, boorish, conceited and vain the lot of them.They mystery itself isn¿t too bad, although I didn¿t like the almost surprise villains at the end. They don¿t exactly qualify as surprises since they were introduced and set into motion before their great reveal, but they did sort of come out of left field. A bit of a cheat if you ask me. But there it is. I doubt I¿ll read another of these though. They¿re a bit too squidgy if you know what I mean. Lots of intimate detail and angst within the character¿s make ups and I¿m just not digging it. Still loads of anachronisms peppered throughout, the effect of which is to pull me out of the story. Not the best way to keep a reader engaged.
Larxol on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Persona Non Grata is the third book in Ruth Downie¿s series about Ruso, a physician with the Roman legions stationed in Britain in the 2nd Century. I haven¿t read the earlier books, but this one stands nicely on its own. The plot brings him back to his family home in southern Gaul (modern Nice), where he faces a series of financial, moral, and family disasters. He bumbles through with the help of his British companion, Tilla, but really doesn¿t overcome his problems until she bails him out in the last few pages.The local and historical setting is well and lightly handled, remaining incidental to the plot. The main characters are well fleshed out, but the many, perhaps too many, others are pretty thin. There¿s lots of action, though, and you have to keep turning the pages to see what else can go wrong for Ruso. I recently read Robert Harris¿ Imperium and Lustrum novels about Cicero. Downie¿s story is a little less serious and doesn¿t have the historical figures worked in as Harris does. It¿s an enjoyable read, and I¿m sure I will read the others in the series.