Friday, 30 April 2010

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Ruso and the Root of all Evil - RS Downie


Gaius Petreius Ruso, doctor to the Legions, is about to return home to Gaul after many years' absence. Little does he realize the letter summoning him back has been forged, or that the sunny Mediterranean lifestyle conceals a dark threat lurking at every corner. His family are in horrific debt to dangerous men and when the principal creditor, Severus, is poisoned in the Ruso home they become the primary suspects in his murder. But the crimes go far deeper. What role did Severus play in the deliberate sinking of a cargo ship? Who are the brutal investigators sent by Rome? And how worrying is the outbreak of the new religion, Christianity, in the neighbourhood? When Ruso takes a job stitching up gladiators in the local amphitheatre, matters come to a head. He's literally in the lion's den and even Tilla, his loyal servant, may not be able to save him from the clutches of a most devious murderer ... Ruso and the Root of All Evils , is published in the US as Persona Non Grata.


As a huge fan of historical fiction, I’m always on the look out for something new and different to the norm especially within the Roman period. What unfurls within, in this, the third outing for Ruso, is a tale with humour, mystery and demonstrates that mankind has not moved on as much as we’d like to think in two millennia. Downie, brings a great tale to the fore with wonderful prose, some great twists and above all characters that just step off the page into the readers imagination like almost as if they’re friends that you’d like to invite round for a drink in the forum. Add to the mix realistic dialogue and you’ve really got a gem to enjoy even if you haven’t read the other titles within the series.


Margaret said...

This novel is a delight! I loved the humor and, as you say, the characters that "just step off the page." It's published in the U.S. as Persona Non Grata, and I reviewed it at Now I want to go back and read the first two in this series.

Angela Addams said...

This looks pretty interesting!