Back with the Legio XX, Ruso is doing inspection rounds We are treated to a view of life in the various outposts and training of recruits for the Roman legions As usual, Ruso gets dragged reluctantly into looking at some unsavoury aspects of life and death.What to ExpectWell researched details about Roman life in Roman Britain under Hadrian who makes a cameo appearance , murders and other nefarious deeds, a plot and sub plots that twist and build up all for a great read overall.The POV of view alternates between Ruso and his British wife Tilla, and Downie does an excellent job in describing how these two very different people view the world The rest of the cast are also fully realised people, and one cannot but relate to them.What I likedThis goes for the whole series The absolute charm of the writing All characters are fully fleshed, believable, with their own motivations The writing is witty, the setting is rich, the plot thought out, and the mysteries engaging.These are the kind of books where you care for the characters Downie has a knack to depict the world views of the characters realistically, switching viewpoints from a Roman medical officer to a British peasant woman It is clear that each character from main to support cast is a fully realised person, with their own agendas and biases.The plot of the stories grips you till can t put the book down Downie is masterfully weaving the investigations through sub plots, distractions, daily lives, grand events till you just have to know what happens next Ruso may be a reluctant investigator, but he has that nagging voice in his head when things don t quite fit well, and it keeps him following and digging for the truth Tilla has her own sense of fairness, and views on what makes the world tick.Downie locates each book in a different town, mostly around Roman Britain with only two exceptions She has clearly done her research for each location and they all come alive, with the latest modern archaeological understanding of life there seeping through her writing.What to be aware ofThese aren t the noir mysteries I normally read and recommend While there are certainly some gruesome bits did I mention gladiatorial combats , these aren t your typical first person hard boiled detective Rather, the stories are told in a lighter vein, in third person perspective from either Ruso or Tilla s POV Happily, Tilla gets page time as the series progresses.Ms Downie has experience with archaeology and Latin history, and it shows in her writing She has elected to translate most Latin terms into modern English e.g calling a master my lord rather then domine , or using doctor for physician , which may sound a tad weird to those used to Latin terms from similar series.Be aware that while it s not strictly necessary to read the books in order, it certainly helps.SummaryI absolutely love this series I have no idea why it took me so long to get back to it, but I am glad I did If you ve read the previous books, this is a great continuation If not, go back to book one Medicus and start reading today Assaph Mehr, author of Murder In Absentia A story of Togas, Daggers, and Magic for lovers of Ancient Rome, Murder Mysteries, and Urban Fantasy. Ruth Downie has done it again Semper Fidelis is another great story in this mystery series Just a quick warning, there are a few spoilers in my post.If you have not read any of this series don t start here Go back to book one where you first met the two main characters, Ruso and Tilla Russo is a depressed, unhappy person His father squandered all of the family money before he died and Ruso as the oldest son is the one who has to keep the family afloat He is doing this by serving as a doctor in the Roman Army in Britain Most of his pay goes to his family in Gaul Tilla is a native of Britain and life has not been kind to her In spite of everything that has happened to her she remains upbeat The two seem to be a real mismatch.There is a big change in the two characters when you get to Semper Fidelis Even though Russo and Tilla start out in a good place that changes for the worse They arrive at a unit where all is not as it seems Bad things happen to both but like previous books they work together to find the truth Even though Russo just wants to be a doctor he is forced into investigation again.One of the great things about this series is how Ruth Downie works the history of the Romans in Britain into the story I think it helps that she lives where much of the story is set and can visit the sites she writes about I get a real picture of life in Britain under the Romans I did think I saw a foreshadowing of an event that will bring further change to the lives of Russo and Tilla I will just have to wait and see.I received a ARC of Semper Fidelis form Netgalley.Bloomberg will release Semper Fidelis by Ruth Downie in January of 2013. Another enjoyable entry in the author s Ruso series.Ruso is back with the XX Legion in Britain and has decided to make an inspection tour of the legion s medical facilities so as to avoid crossing paths with the Emperor s retinue In the wake of the recent troubles, Hadrian has come to the island to supervise the building of the Wall and settle the VI Legion there as reinforcements While in Eboracum York , he stumbles across several mysterious deaths and injuries amongst the British recruits and soon finds himself and Tilla embroiled in a messy situation involving a bigoted, sadistic centurion his nephew, the ambitious tribune and the Imperial household because, inevitably, Ruso does cross paths with the Emperor.As with the first four novels in the series, Semper Fidelis is a quick enjoyable read with just enough gravitas to make it memorable.The only caveat is the new character of Virana, whose dimwittedness is almost too dim to be believable Hopefully, she won t descend too far into slapstick in future books as she s become a member of the Ruso household. This finds Medicus Ruso back in the XX Legion and with a vexillation to Eboracum where the VI Legion is taking over He and his wife, Tilla, are involved in solving the mystery of why so many British recruits are dying in suspicious circumstances There s a good portrayal of Emperor Hadrian and his wife, Empress Sabina, visiting Eboracum and Hadrian devising plans for his Wall Downie gave us a memorable conception of Sabina, an important character in this novel. Downie set the story of Semper Fidelis book 5 of the series, in 2nd century Roman Britain during Hadrian s rule The protagonist Gaius Petreius Ruso, a Roman Army Medical officer and wife Tilla, a native Briton are back with the 20th legion The Emperor Hadrian and Empress Sabina are visiting England Ruso and Tilla are posted to fortress Eboracum modern day York only to find things are going seriously wrong there for the legion s British recruits Mysterious injuries and deaths have occurred Ruso runs into problems with Centurion Geminus when he starts asking questions Ruso suspects Geminus is preying on the recruits, how, why he set out to find out Tilla brings to the Empress attention the plight of the recruits I particularly like the section of the book when the British recruits appeal to the Empress Sabina to accept there petition and help them They are chanting Sabina, Sabina and the Empress responses to them in such as way to reveal she has had very little attention paid to her Downie does factually portray the relationship between Hadrian and Sabina There are many twists, turns and setbacks for the protagonist The characters major and minor are well drawn The author does an enormous amount of historical research and weaves this into the story with such a light hand that you ll hardly notice you re being educated as well as entertained I like the authors note at the end of the book providing the historical facts provided in the story as well as the modern day location in the city of York that are presented in the book There is proof of the abysmal treatment of native recruits to the legions in Britain in the Vindolanda Tablets dated from 85 122 CE they also tell of Hadrian s visit to Britain in 122 CE I read this as an audio book downloaded from Audible The award winning, Simon Vance does a super job narrating the story. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of Semper Fidelis, 5 in Ruth Downie s Gaius Petreius Ruso series, set in Roman Britain I was especially eager as we spent the week after Christmas in Corbridge, Northumberland and visited the major Roman excavation there I had a much better idea of what a Roman town in Britain looked like and it added to my enjoyment of an already favorite series Corbridge also brought home the rigors of Roman Legion life Northumberland is no place to be in a tunic and cloak in the winter months Ruso is a surgeon with the Twentieth Legion and is married to a British woman, Tilla actually Darlughdacha, but I agree with Ruso that Tilla is much better Ruso is a very good man with insatiable curiosity but Tilla is his conscience Ruso longs for nothing than a peaceful life but does not seem to be destined for peace.The combination of curiosity and conscience has gotten them into a great deal of trouble before, but never to the extent seen in Semper Fidelis The Emperor Hadrian is visiting Britain and the Twentieth Legion in Eboracum York and Ruso has also gone north to inspect the medical facilities there When he arrives he discovers evidence of abuse of new British recruits leading to deaths and suicides While Ruso is no longer an investigator and does not want to be, his sense of duty is aroused His and Tilla s questions lead him to the Centurion, Geminus He is forcibly warned off by Geminus, who not only is a highly placed figure, but is related to the Legion s Tribune, the ambitious Accius When Ruso makes the mistake of taking his concerns straight to the Emperor and Geminus turns up dead, who better to take the blame for the murder than Ruso Stripped of rank and imprisoned, Ruso is in deep trouble and Tilla is not much better off As only officers can be married she is no longer his wife and loses all the protection of that status.Many vivid new characters are introduced the Empress Sabina, Hadrian and an assortment of Britons and Roman soldiers Tilla even picks up a stray, a remarkably dim camp follower named Virana Ruso s friend, Valens, makes a short appearance and also, less welcome, Metellus, spymaster and general snake in the grass The trademark dry humor is very much present but not to as great an extent as in earlier books I think this is because Ruso s and Tilla s situation is so very serious I was getting very anxious about it for a time I highly recommend the series but it is very important to read the books in order Medicus, Terra Incognita, Persona non Grata and Caveat Emptor The series is tremendously enjoyable and Semper Fidelis does not disappoint. Back At His Post As A Doctor In The Twentieth Legion In Roman Occupied Britain, Ruso Uncovers A New Danger Even Closer To Home Than The Neighboring Barbarians As Mysterious Injuries, And Even Deaths, Begin To Appear In The Medical Ledgers, It S Clear That All Is Not Well Amongst The Native Recruits To Britannia S Imperial Army Is The Much Decorated Centurion Geminus Preying On His Weaker Soldiers And Could This Be Related To The Appearance Of Emperor Hadrian Bound By His Sense Of Duty And Ill Advised Curiosity, Ruso Begins To Ask Questions Nobody Wants To Hear Meanwhile His Barbarian Wife, Tilla, Is Finding Out Some Of The Answers And Marked As A Security Risk By The Very Officers Ruso Is Interrogating With Hadrian S Visit Looming Large, The Fates Of The Legion, Tilla, And Ruso Himself Hang In The Balance This was the most exciting book yet in the Gaius Petreius Ruso series I was scared half to death during half of the book, having no clue how everything will be solved.Ruso and Tilla arrive to Ibaracum to learn that a Centurion is abusing his recruits Ruso, who is a lovely man with a hugely developed sense of duty, puts his neck on the line to do the right thing And let me tell you, that things go terrible for him I was mad at Tilla, who just keeps pushing Ruso thinking he s invincible I thought she would learned her lesson and put Ruso first for once but I ve given up hope The series is not as light as it used to be, so I wonder if something happened in the author s life that turned the series darker Still, I m definitely enjoying learning about life in Roman Britannia so I m looking forward to the next in the series. Reread July 2017Read September 2014This might very well be my favorite of the series The story is straightforward but well crafted and poignant for much of the book the mystery isn t who the baddie is, but rather how Ruso and Tilla whose relationship continues to develop beautifully will convince the authorities and see justice done I admit I enjoyed the chapters from the Empress Sabina s perspective the least, but since I read the book in one sitting, staying up till 2am to finish, I can t honestly say I thought the story dragged in any way. Once again Medicus, with the help of his wife, Tilla, solved the crime The Roman world is safe and all can sleep well I really like Ruth Downie s serial I looked forward to this book coming out and I look forward to the next one I like mysteries and I like historical novels, Miss Downie s books give you both.
Ruth is the author of eight mysteries featuring Roman Army medic Gaius Petreius Ruso and his British partner Tilla The latest is MEMENTO MORI She lives in Devon, England, and is married with two grown up sons A combination of nosiness and a childish fascination with mud means she is never happier than when wielding an archaeological trowel She is sometimes called R.S Downie, but she isn t th
- 327 pages
- Semper Fidelis (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #5)
- Ruth Downie
- 05 February 2018 Ruth Downie