Ruso and Tilla's excitement at arriving in Rome with their new baby daughter is soon dulled by their discovery that the grand facades of polished marble mask an underworld of corrupt landlords and vermin-infested tenements. There are also far too many doctors - some skilled - but others positively dangerous.
Ruso thinks that he has been offered a reputable medical practice only to find that his predecessor, Doctor Kleitos, has fled, leaving a dead man in a barrel on the doorstep and the warning "be careful who you trust." Distracted by the body and his efforts to help a friend win the hand of a rich young heiress, Ruso makes a grave mistake, causing him to question both his competence and his integrity.
With Ruso's reputation under threat, he and Tilla must protect their small family from Doctor Kleitos' debt collectors and find allies in their new home while they track down the vanished doctor and find out the truth about the heiress' dead father - Ruso's patient - and the unfortunate man in the barrel.
©2016 Ruth Downie (P)2016 Tantor
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"Life in Ancient Rome"
This is book seven of the series. In this story Gaius Petraeus Ruso, his wife Tila and baby daughter Mara, have arrived in Rome from Britain. Former Tribune Accius has offered Ruso the home and medical practice of a Doctor Kleitos. Kleitos has vanished. Horiatis Balbo, a patron of Kleitos’s is convinced someone is trying to poison him and only Kleitos’s mysterious medial prescription will protect him. Balbo suddenly dies. Ruso and Tila are trying to solve the mystery of Kleitos and Balbo.
The book is well written and the move to Rome adds a new excitement to the story. Downie, as always, provides a realistic view of ancient Rome and provides historical insight to the story. The characters feel real, the plot is complex and the suspense builds throughout the story. As with all Downie books there is a subtle dry humor which I enjoy. I am always amazed at the detail of Roman life that Downie works into her story. The squalid conditions and corruption that was Rome is vividly portrayed by Downie.
Simon Vance does an excellent job narrating the story. Vance is a British actor and award winning audiobook narrator.
"Thank you for another completely wonderful listen!"
I love these books so much I will listen to them again. They transport me to another time as an observer in the midst of the action so clear and colourful is the description of the scenes.
As always, the writing is witty, the characters are now my friends, and the narration is superb! Thank you!
Downie has been right on since her first Russo. He and his sassy wife are good every time out. Simon Vance is the best narrator on audible books.
"A HERO IS NOT ALWAYS THE WARRIOR"
Ruth Downie’s seventh novel Vita Brevis brings a glimpse of Hadrianic Rome and is a wonderful addition to the Medicus series. Ruso and Tilla make great and likeable hero's worth revisiting. Simon Vance is an outstanding narrator. Ruth Downie does a great job mixing her stories with historical events making them real for the reader. If you have enjoyed the previous stories in the series, this one is worth the credit. If you have not tried any of these books, and like believable period historical fiction, with a bit of mystery and detective work, try reading Medicus.
"Another great Roman murder mystery."
Ms. Downie just keeps getting better. What a wild ride through the eternal city of Rome. she brings the ancients to life.
"The series gets better and better."
Set in Rome this time around, it seemed it would be difficult to be as good as all the stories set in Britannia. As good or better. If you haven't read any of this series, you probably could start with this one or any other and enjoy it but you may as well go back to the first book and start there. If you enjoy that one, you'll enjoy them all and each will be that much better for the back story. And then, like me, you'll get to the point I'm at now; trying to be patient as Ms. Downie works her charm and skill into the next book.
As with others in the series, the plot and the performance by Simon Vance, was outstanding. Downie's observations on human behavior and her humor very much added to my great enjoyment! Thanks for many hours of pleasurable commuting.
"When in Rome . . ."
. . .have an unpleasant time with an unsatisfying case.
I still love the main characters, Ruso and Tilla, and the wonderful narrator Simon Vance, but this was my least favorite of the seven Medicus books. Ruso and Tilla are thrown off by Rome and the story is thrown off as well. Their struggles are more tedious this time: caring for the baby, navigating a strange city, and making more errors of judgment than ever before. The story itself was less absorbing than the previous ones. I couldn't wait for Ruso and Tilla to leave Rome. Now I can't wait for the next Medicus book!
"Outstanding: Can't Wait for Next Book in Series"
Each story gets better and better. Exacting detail of life in Rome portrayed with humanity. Same universal emotions of love for family, fear, anxiety, economic survival, and pleas to higher source.
Simon Vance is superb. His voicings of each character give a reality to the storyline that surpasses what could be achieved with the written word. The man is a unique talent and I thank him for the hours of entertainment he provides whatever the novel.
Couldn't turn the recording off. Addictive and reliable source of great enjoyment.
"Another step into a real feeling Rome"
Ruth Dqwnie has once again shown us a very real feeling experience of life in the human world of ancient Rome. Here you will see a version of ancient people that shows that technology changes but people and how the relate to each other stay much the same. This book will take you to the side of Rome, the capital of the world, where common people live lives of drama that will not show in the writings of the great latin authors but still rings true. The real Rome would have had to operate much as this book shows because even Rome has to provide a living for the common people.
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