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Ruso and the Root of All Evils (Medicus Investigations 3) [Paperback]

R. S. Downie
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 April 2010 Medicus Investigations 3

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.

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Frequently Bought Together

Ruso and the Root of All Evils (Medicus Investigations 3) + Ruso and the River of Darkness (Medicus Investigation 4) + Ruso and the Demented Doctor (Medicus Investigations 2)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (29 April 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0141036923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141036922
  • Product Dimensions: 2.7 x 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 258,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ruth (RS) Downie left university with an English degree and a plan to get married and live happily ever after. She is still working on it. In the meantime she is also the New York Times bestselling author of a mystery series featuring Roman doctor Gaius Petreius Ruso.

The latest book is 'Semper Fidelis', and the previous four are:

Medicus (published as 'Medicus/Ruso and the Disappearing Dancing Girls' in the UK and Australia)

Terra Incognita ('Ruso and the Demented Doctor')

Persona non Grata ('Ruso and the Root of All Evils')

Caveat Emptor ('Ruso and the River of Darkness')

Ruth is not the RS Downie who writes real medical textbooks. Absolutely none of the medical advice in the Ruso books should be followed. Roman and Greek doctors were very wise about many things but they were also known to prescribe donkey dung and boiled cockroaches.

Find out more at

Product Description

About the Author

R.S. Downie is the author of two previous Ruso novels, both available as Penguin paperbacks. She lives in Buckinghamshire.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Roman Whodunnit with a Difference 28 Aug 2010
I have always been an afficionado of detective and adventure stories in a Roman setting, starting with Lindsay Davis and David Wishart and moving on to include Rosemary Rowe, Marilyn Todd, Steven Saylor, John Maddox Roberts and Simon Scarrow, so the arrival of a new author in the field aroused my cautious interest. I welcomed Ms Downie's first book in the series, Ruso and the Disapperaring Dancing Girls, with pleasure but some reserve. It had a wry quiet humour running through it, and was certainly a pleasure to read. However, Ruso never quite became a real person to me, (probably due to a lack of imagination on my part) and I couldn't quite see how the saga could progress. That changed with the arrival of Ruso and the Demented Doctor, when to me, at least, Ruso became a definite individual whose problems you could appreciate and whose actions elicited an emotive response, be it either approval or dismay. By this time I was definitely looking forward to the third book in the series, so when Ruso and the Root of all Evils arrived I grabbed it eagerly and was not disappointed. To speak of this series as "Roman" is perhaps a shade misleading, as the action of the first two books takes place in Roman Britain, and the third in Ruso's home country of Gaul. However, the setting is less important than the characters, and the latter are beautifully drawn. Ruso comes through a a conscientious, caring and competent but slightly bewildered individual, doing his best to survive in a difficult world. Equally delightful is Tilla, his slave/housekeeper/mistress/potential wife who is tribal British and fiercely independant - standing no nonsense from either Ruso or anyone else. The result is pure pleasure. There are no dramatic cliff-hanging episodes, but plenty of adventure, and the joy of seeing two likeable characters (Ruso and Tilla) doing their best to survive and prosper in a frequently hostile environment. The fourth book can't come soon enough for me!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant enough 29 July 2010
I find R S Downie pleasantly reminds me of Marilyn Todd though her hero is quite unlike the irreverant Claudia Seferius. The level of technical writing between the two authors is comparable. Both have an easy pace, a simple setting and a choice of language that will never elevate them into the pantheon of Saylor or Gregory, nor a grasp of scope of the likes of Davies or Doody. Downie's Ruso also has the same dogged thought-process flow as that other sharp-witted detective created by Rosemary Rowe.
It is fairly evident that at some point all ancient history who-dunnits authors have to let their sleuths spread their wings and fly the nest of the comfort of home. In this case its only taken two novels to have Ruso limp out of Britannia with the independent and apparently guileless Tilla to head for home where brother Lucius is struggling over a court case presented by the unctuous Severus who happens to be married to Ruso's ex. - Claudia. What with two headstrong sisters, a level headed gladiator suitor, a "my cousin the senator" sneaking about, a missing brother Justinus on a shady trading shipwreck and the appearance of two Roman henchmen to investigate the rhododendron honey poisoning of the aforementioned Severus, Ruso has his work - and time! -cut out to discover the culprit, save the family honour and pecuniary, and establish both Tilla within the family and his sisters' future.
Enjoyable, light-hearted mayhem from the pen of an author with a steady hand on the plot, a warming set of characters and just enough intrigue to ensure the pages turn. It's not Saylor, it'll never be literary genius, but for a plane/train flight or just a lazy summer afternoon, fans of the genre could do no worse than check in our our new Medicus and see what strife's he managed to entangle himself in this time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good outing 12 May 2010
For Ruso and Tilla, The usual slight farce ensues, with stroppy adolescent sisters, step mothers with their heads in the sand, smarmy politicians and believable baddies. A very pleasant way to spend a few evenings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ate it all in one go! 25 Sep 2010
By Carrie
A surprise to see it on my suggestions list and ordered it straight away.
Free delivery - turned up in a couple of days and was delivered to my bed by the puppy - who hadn't chewed the package much.
Excellent addition to the series!
I enjoy the wry humour.
Stands alone, but probably best read in order; this is a marvellous escapist novel.
I will enjoy re-reading it to fully catch all the jokes.
A series to have on the shelf and lend to people when they need a break from reality.
Gentle fun, raw humour, good characterisation
More fun than a DVD much cheaper - and the pictures are better!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ruso and the Root of All Evil 1 Jun 2010
If history and mystery is your thing, you'll like this book. Ruso, a Roman military medic is ably assisted by his British slave girl sidekick Tilla to unravel a mystery involving poison, dodgy dealing and all the complications of his family. I have enjoyed all of the Ruso stories so far, and I hope you do too.
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