Ann's Reviews > Medicus

Medicus by Ruth Downie
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's review
Mar 29, 2009

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Read in March, 2009

Medicus is what I call a 'popcorn' book: a book to pick up and settle in with for an evening's cozy reading. Entertainment value: 5 stars, but several months from now I'll have a hard time remembering much beyond the main characters: Gaius Petrius Ruso, a physician stationed in Brittania with the Roman army, and Tilla, the slave girl he reluctantly purchases from an abusive master. Ruso, long suffering, wry, and a humanist doomed to be forever caught up in other people's suffering despite his attempts at pragmatism, is the main entertainment here. Downie does a decent job at bringing her world to life, but the plot and various plot threads are fairly predictable.

Inevitably, I've also got to compare Medicus to Lindsay Davis's very fun and entertaining Falco series, also a detective series set in ancient Rome. I do feel that Downie has a better feel for writing from the male perspective, but Davis's Rome is more finely wrought, her plots better developed. Both series have a nice element of humor, although readers who prefer to smile rather than laugh out loud with their mysteries might be more comfortable with Downie's more character-driven style.
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