Apr 21, 12
Recommended to Christina by:
Read from February 28 to April 14, 2012, read count: 1
I really enjoyed this introduction to Gaius Petreius Ruso, his new slave Tilla, and all of his other woes. Ruso is an army medicus in Brittania, which is under Roman rule, and I liked that this put me in mind of a sort of ancient Roman M*A*S*H. The details of daily living are interesting, and the characters are great. I like Tilla, but I think Albanus, who is Ruso's scribe, is my favorite. Everybody should have an Albanus.
The mystery plot itself was a little off in its pacing, but I was having too much fun for that to bother me much. I especially liked how Downie presented the culture clashes, often showing the same scene from both Ruso's and Tilla's perspectives to give the reader a fuller understanding of what motivated whom. And I am glad that Downie resisted making Ruso an enlightened progressive. He may be a better class of slave-owner, but he is a still a slave-owner, and he thinks like a slave-owner simply because it would not occur to him that there is any other way to think. So even though Downie had to make lots of educated guesses about life in Roman times, everything feels quite real for its setting, and this makes me want to keep reading.