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Persona Non Grata (Medicus Investigation #3)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  1,549 ratings  ·  180 reviews
The third novel in the acclaimed Gaius Petreius Ruso series by the New York Times bestselling Ruth Downie--this time set in ancient Gaul.

Ruth Downie is published as R.S. Downie in the UK, and this book is available there under the title Ruso and the Root of All Evils.

At long last, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, Tilla, are headed home--to Gaul. Having received a no
Hardcover, 348 pages
Published July 7th 2009 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2008)
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I, Claudius by Robert GravesThe First Man in Rome by Colleen McCulloughClaudius the God and His Wife Messalina by Robert GravesThe Twelve Caesars by SuetoniusPompeii by Robert   Harris
Best Books About Ancient Rome
124th out of 531 books — 768 voters
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Roman Mysteries Series
6th out of 59 books — 25 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,415)
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Gaius Petreius Ruso's penchant for falling into mysteries and his hapless relationships with former wives, family members and strong-willed British women continues to please.

This third installment of Ruth Downie's series finds Ruso called back to his family's estates in Gaul by a terse letter ostensibly sent by his brother Lucius. The family has been pressured by its creditors ever since Ruso's father's death but things take a decided turn for the worse when the agent of one of the largest credi
Goodreads freebie (Thanks!) This is the third book in a series about Gaius Ruso. I have not read the others - normally I prefer to read a series in order -- but this one can be read without having read the others.

Gaius Ruso is a medical officer with the Roman Legion serving in Britain when he receives an obscure message ostensibly from his brother, Lucius, demanding that he return to Roma at once. Easier said than done, since the voyage home required more than a month of sea and overland travel.
Oct 10, 2009 Chris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: armchair-historian or anyone who enjoys a great classic mystery
I have been a fan of Ruth Downie since I randomly selected her second novel, Terra Incognita, from my local library a few months ago. Her characters are endearing, her mysteries compelling, and her use of historical elements enthralling.

This book is my favorite of the three Ruso novels. Like the previous two, it follows Gaius Petreius Ruso, a doctor in the Roman army, and his lover Tilla, a "barbarian girl" from Britannia. This time, Ruso is summoned home to Gaul by a cryptic letter from his bro
Another enjoyable historical mystery from Downie. Our hero Gaius Petreius Ruso receives a mysterious letter beckoning him home to Gaul, only to find that when he arrives he is a persona non grata - not particularly welcomed by his family, which consists of a harried brother, an excessively fertile sister-in-law, two romantically frustrated sisters, and a step-mother who embraces the concept that ignorance is bliss. Not to mention an ex-wife who has "made some very bad decisions in the last few y ...more
So Roman Britain doesn’t look that bad when you are dealing with massive debts, a sneaky loan collector, a ship wreck, and clogged drains. This entry into the series concerns both the Medicius and Tilla returning to the family home. The mystery really isn’t that mysterious, but the characters and interactions make up for the predictable plot. Part of the fun is watching Tilla’s introduction to fledging religion of Christianity.

Crossposted at Booklikes.
This is my favorite book in the series so far. I did figure out "who done it" early in the book, but it took me awhle to figure out the "what, where and why" portion.

I LOVED the author's description of an early Christian meeting as seen from a barbarian's perspective. "When most of the food was gone and one of the old women had hidden half a loaf of bread under her shawl, it was time to pray to ghe god again...As the prayers rambled on she began to wish that, since this god was everywhere, his f
This third installment of Ruth Downie's Roman Empire series is the best so far. I always have a hard time describing to friends why these books are so entertaining. In simple terms they are historical fiction mysteries. The mysteries are engaging; in fact this was the most interesting mystery yet. In this book Ruso heads home to his family farm bringing along his British girlfriend/housekeeper Tilla. Once there the couple gets drawn into solving the poisoning death of the man who just so happens ...more
Kathy Davie
This is the third in the ancient Roman, military-mystery series, Gaius Petreius Ruso, Persona Non Grata sets up Ruso's response to an urgent letter from home. A response that, on the surface, seems disastrous to the financial well-being of Ruso's family.

Arranging leave from the Twentieth Legion, Ruso takes Tilla home to Nemausus in Narbonensis (modern-day Nimes) where he proceeds to stick his foot in it right and left with his ex-wife and ex-father-in-law; his missing brother-in-law; the cousin,
Amy Raby
I originally gave this 4 stars but I'm bumping it up to 5 because I can't get this book out of my head. I don't normally read a lot of mysteries (I'm more into SFF and romance). I picked this up because it was on sale and I'm fascinated with the ancient world, especially the Roman Empire, and I figured for $2, why not give it a try? Now I'm kind of obsessed and I want to read the whole series.

This is book 3. I hadn't read the first two, and it didn't matter; I jumped in without a problem. Gaius
A delightful series… while not exactly weighty historical fiction, the setting and behaviors are obviously well researched and about as true to the Roman period as any others I've come across. The characters are never jarringly modern even though they share the same emotions and concerns as any era including our own. I've become very fond of the medicus, Gaius Petrious Ruso… who struggles to practice his primitive form of doctoring with any dignity, partly because of his meddlesome barbarian lov ...more
Another amusing historical mystery by Ruth Downie. In this one, Ruso brings Tilla home to meet his dysfunctional family. Unfortunately, Tilla finds that he has neglected to mention her existence, Ruso finds his brother has neglected to mention that the family is about to lose all their assets, and his sister has neglected to mention that she's in love with a gladiator. Horrible social mishaps merrily ensue. And then the man who owns the family debt dies suspiciously in their home. Here we go!

Another good entry in the Medicus series. In this one Ruso and Tilla travel back to Gaul after he receives an urgent message from his brother Lucius to return home immediately. Upon arriving they find the family very surprised to see them and the family fortune in grave danger. It seems their father's debts and their step-mothers spending are more than Lucius' income from his winery can pay for and they are about to be called into court by the local representative of the Senate. Then, things tak ...more
In Terra Incognita we got to meet Tilla's family. This time around, we get to meet Ruso's - and see just why he left Gaul for Britannia. I really don't blame him. As head of the family, he is the main support of a stepmother, two teenage half-sisters, a brother, sister-in-law, and a growing number of nieces and nephews. His stepmother, Arria, spends her time planning home improvements and trying to pair Ruso off with a wealthy, widowed neighbor. His younger brother, Lucius, does his best to hand ...more
Downie is definitely over her sophomore slump as this mystery is up to the caliber of Medicus, the book that started this series. Quirky situations, humorous outcomes and an unexpected conclusion are all the things I’ve come to expect with our main character Gaius Petreius Ruso and that is exactly what I got. What was particularly amusing were his dealings with his ex-wife and ex-father-in-law—boy he sure knows how to pick ‘em! And as always, historical aspect of the book was fun too.

Gaius Petr
Lis Carey
Ruso has just injured his foot attempting to rescue a boy from the river (the boy manages to save himself) when an uncharacteristically brief and urgent letter arrives from his brother Lucius: Come home immediately. In a panic about what new disaster is so awful Lucius won't even hint at it, he wangles extended medical leave, and he and Tilla pack up and head for southern Gaul.

Their arrival is a complete surprise, and not a welcome one. One of their major creditors is threatening a bankruptcy ac
Sharon A.
I received this book as a Goodreads giveaway, and when I received the book in the mail and realized it was 3rd in a series, I though I was in trouble, as I hadn't read the first two.

I started it, however, and was quickly drawn into the story. The series follows Gaius, a military doctor, and his lover, Tilla. It is set in early Brittania and Gaul. While its set in ancient times, the book has a modern feel. Gaius has returned to his family home after receiving a note asking for his help in sortin
In Persona Non Grata, the third in Ruth Downie’s Medicus series set in second-century Roman Britannia, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his British companion Tilla (also known as Darlughdacha of the Corionotatae among the Brigantes) travel to southern Gaul, summoned by an ominous letter that says only, “Lucius to Gaius. Come home, brother.” As their father’s heir and effective (if not necessarily effectual) paterfamilias, Ruso has known for some time of his family’s precarious financial situation, legacy ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy Trueman
The third book of this excellent series by Ruth Downie finds Ruso, the hapless hero of the tales, summoned home to Gaul by an urgent message from his brother. Or so he thinks. He isn't expected but is welcomed by his deliciously dysfunctional family. Naturally, being Ruso, he becomes involved in a murder, much too closely, since Ruso himself is a suspect and the victim was the husband of Ruso's ex-wife.

While Ruso tries to untangle all the threads connected with the murdered man and at the same t
"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 Gauli ...more
ARC received through the First Reads giveaway program.

I'll admit it: I'm not a huge mystery fan. But when I saw this book posted as a giveaway, I was intrigued. I am very fond of historical fiction.

Although I did not read the previous books in the series, I now want to go back and read them... and then maybe read Persona Non Grata again. I really liked reading about Ruso the army doctor, his housekeeper/lover Tilla, and his annoying family in Narbonensis. Ruso is drawn into a mystery surrounding
This is one of those times when having half a star would be useful, because for most of the novel I was definitely in 4 star territory, but when I got to the ending it dropped back to a 3. And it's not the solving of the mystery itself that was problematic, but in tying up the other loose ends of the story it felt like the author ran out of steam and things happened too easily. Though, of course, I encourage you to read and decide for yourself.

Persona Non Grata is a historical mystery novel set
Brian Maicke
Downie's third effort in the Medicus series. This installment follows Ruso, a medical officer in the Roman Legions, as he is urgently summoned home to help handle a family financial crisis. When one of the family's principal creditors winds up dead in the family home, Ruso must work to clear his family name.

Ruso's family was a bit too whiny and oblivious to their predicament. I realize a large part of the story is how the troubles are kept from the family, but it is clear that they have some kno
This is the second Medicus book that I have read. The Medicus is a Roman physician who is a member of the 20th Legion in Britian. His side-kick/lover is Tilla the barbarian. In this book Gaius Petreius Ruso, the Medicus, is summonized back to the family farm to deal with a crisis.

Two murders, a skuttled ship, and a lot of skullduggery keep the action going. We even have a day at a Roman "circus" thrown in for good measure. I enjoy these historical detective novels, and Downie does a good job wit
I'm still enjoying this series even though I can't pinpoint exactly why. The mysteries are nothing special - maybe it's the characters and the ridiculous situations that Ruso gets into. I laughed hysterically at the political slogans - The Prostitutes/Town Poisoner says to vote for so and so! - and the toddler running around naked everywhere.

The relationship between Tilla and Ruso is moving right along, even though they argue a lot and are rarely tender with one another. At least I was glad that
I felt like I had won the lottery when I received this book to do a Readers Review.
This book is a good choice for history buffs. Set in Ancient Rome with all of the tension between the invading army and the local people. Most of this story is outside of the awfulness of war. It's practically a domestic drama. The medicus, Ruso, and his patient, Tilla, are wonderful, warm and witty characters.
You must read the series if this sort of thing is on your usual reading list. Persona Non Grata is book
Downie has really hit her stride in this third installment in her Roman-era historical mystery. She has surpassed fellow writers Lindsey Davis (who, at her 20th mystery may be out of steam), and Stephen Saylor (who perhaps focuses too much on historical accuracy at the expense of story).

In this installment, our heroes travail from Britain back home to Nemes, in southern Gaul. For some reason, the fish-out-of water and the French vs. English jokes play better here than the earlier novels set in
Kent Disch
I recieved this book as part of the Goodreads-First Reads program.

I hadn't read any of the previous books and it didn't take long for me to wonder if should have. As a stand-alone book, I'm not sure it works.

The mystery portion was confusing and muddled and took way too long to get to the action. Many characters are set up for major parts and then simply disappear as if the author couldn't decide where she wanted the story to go.

Overall, it isn't a bad story, but if you are into Roman-erq histor
This book is the third in a series, but I found it quite enjoyable even having not read the first two. The story is a historical murder mystery set in ancient Gaul, and follows the story of a Roman Medicus named Ruso, and his Britannia girlfriend Tilla, as they return to Ruso's home in Gaul after receiving a mysterious letter, only to become caught up in a mysterious poisoning and multiple family disasters. The book has lots of interesting historical details, including gladiator games, and a loo ...more
Rebecca Huston
Another entertaining entry in the Ruso series, with a visit to the old family homestead in the south of France. Tilla and Ruso's relationship is really put to the test, especially when it turns out that Ruso's ex is the wife of the murder victim, which everyone thinks that Ruso poisoned. Oops. Fine mystery, lots of neat little details, and a four star rating from me. Recommended.

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Ruth is the author of six mysteries* featuring Roman Army medic Gaius Petreius Ruso. The latest is TABULA RASA. 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 the person with the same name who w
More about Ruth Downie...

Other Books in the Series

Medicus Investigation (6 books)
  • Medicus (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #1)
  • Terra Incognita (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #2)
  • Caveat Emptor (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #4)
  • Semper Fidelis (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #5)
  • Tabula Rasa (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #6)
Medicus (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #1) Terra Incognita (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #2) Caveat Emptor (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #4) Semper Fidelis (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #5) Tabula Rasa (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #6)

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