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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor!
The intrepid Ruso former legionary doctor returns in Ruth Downies fourth instalment in Caveat Emptor (US version). He also returns to Britannia in tow with his new wife, Tilla after staying with his family in Gaul. I have to admit its irritating to find that the names of the books in the US and Britain differ and you have to grub around each time a book is released. If...
Published on 26 April 2011 by Je Salter

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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars watch out
Watch out Caveat Emptor and Ruso and the River of Darkness are the same book!! Amazon are offering a deal if you buy both books but you will end up with 2 copies of the same book.
Published on 26 Jan 2011 by avidreader


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Caveat Emptor!, 26 April 2011
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Je Salter (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Caveat Emptor (Hardcover)
The intrepid Ruso former legionary doctor returns in Ruth Downies fourth instalment in Caveat Emptor (US version). He also returns to Britannia in tow with his new wife, Tilla after staying with his family in Gaul. I have to admit its irritating to find that the names of the books in the US and Britain differ and you have to grub around each time a book is released. If you want a hardback version you have to order from the US as well and its annoying.

The above said in Caveat Emptor, the book opens with Ruso returning to Britain and landing at the port of Londunium where he meets his friend and former legionary surgeon Vallens. Ruso is hoping to return to his old trade but when a tax collector and his brother disappear on route to the settlement, he is 'volunteered' to investigate the circumstances of the disappearance of the brothers and the money.

It's not long before the one of the bodies turns up dead not too far away from where Ruso is staying and rumours spread that he must have been killed by his brother who has ran off with the cash. As usual things are not as they appear and Ruso soon finds links with the Iceni and Catuvellanni as his enquiries begin. With Tilla wanting a baby Ruso is more than happy when he goes off in search of the truth.

It's not long however, before Tilla turns up in company with a woman claiming to be the great grand daughter of none other than Boudica and she is heavily pregnant with the unborn baby of the dead man. With counterfeit coins, corrupt officials and deserters from the Roman army and with the threat of the Iceni, Ruso has his work cut out as he soon becomes a target for the men who have a vested interest in covering what what actually happened. It's another good book by Ruth Downie where the reader can expect to laugh and enjoy Ruso's exploits!
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars watch out, 26 Jan 2011
This review is from: Caveat Emptor (Hardcover)
Watch out Caveat Emptor and Ruso and the River of Darkness are the same book!! Amazon are offering a deal if you buy both books but you will end up with 2 copies of the same book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Town without pity, 6 Oct 2011
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Blue in Washington "Barry Ballow" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Caveat Emptor (Hardcover)
Ruth Downie takes her "Medicus" series to a new level of complexity and intrigue with "Caveat Emptor". This fourth book in the highly entertaining series set in Roman-ruled Britain in the Second Century AD has protagonist Gaius Petreius Ruso and his now-wife Tilla back in Londinium after a long visit to his family home in southern Gaul. Ruso, no longer an army medic, is looking for work and reluctantly accepts an assignment from the Procurator of the province to investigate the disappearance of a tax collector and a substantial amount of tax revenue from the nearby town of Verulamium (modern St. Albans). With Tilla and the missing tax collector's wife and child in tow, Ruso moves his investigation to Verulamium, to all appearances a very law-abiding and largely Romanized settlement where the local Britons talk with Babbit-like pride about their town and province. The town fathers are not happy about the possibility of criminal scandal that has come with Ruso the Investigator, and as the bodies of the tax collector and his brother turn up, civic hostility becomes increasingly dangerous for Ruso and his family and colleagues.

Author Downie has crafted a very clever plot that is slowly revealed through Ruso's investigation in classic police procedural fashion albeit in the historic context in which the mystery is set. The conclusion is never predictable and is revealed only in the last few pages of the book.

While the plot is clever and skillfully spun out, what I liked even more about "Caveat Emptor" was the growing complexity of the characters. The relationship between Ruso and his Briton wife Tilla is extremely complicated. To be sure, there are masculine/feminine differences at work, but this is also a pairing of two extremely different people, coming from two very different cultures (cosmopolitan vs. tribal). The two are shown to be strongly committed to each other, but they are rarely in agreement about anything--their lives together, relationships with others, how to investigate a crime, etc. That personal tension is consistently written into the entire run of the story and, for the most part, strengthens it and brings a sense of historic reality to the tale.

I also thought that Downie provided a good balance of mystery story vs. historic detail in "Caveat Emptor". The plot had a modern feel to it, with its emphasis on human relationships, greed, petty power struggles, and bureaucratic bad behavior. But there is enough historic material here--living conditions, Roman medicine, transportation, burial rites, tribal relationships, etc.--to make the story original and entertaining for the reader who chooses this genre for those qualities.

A very fine book in a good series that gets more interesting with each successive episode. Recommended.
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Caveat Emptor
Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie (Hardcover - 21 Dec 2010)
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