Medicus by Ruth Downie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
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.
I fell in love with the characters of Medicus--but it took some time. They developed slowly, along with the plot. Meanwhile, the mystery here seemed to play second fiddle to the Roman milieu, and the growing attraction between Ruso and Tilla.
But I stuck with the book and became more and more absorbed. The author may take a long time to tell a small story, but the three primary characters are so engaging and addictive that I can't wait to read the next installment.
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