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Old 01-12-2011, 09:46 PM   #7833
ATDrake
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Well, finished Ruth Downie's Medicus: A Novel of the Roman Empire. Roman Britain in the time of Hadrian, to be exact.

This was a murder mystery wherein the local doctor and amateur sleuth Gaius Petreius Ruso picks up a mysterious slave girl while investigating the suspicious deaths of several other slave girls from the local brothel and is there a connection, yadda yadda yadda…

I actually quite liked it, even though I think there were some rough patches to the writing and a bit too much trying to be clever with the coyly switching viewpoints from the author. And the mystery was a bit drawn-out for a while, then abruptly twisted in upon itself in a way that wasn't too hard to figure out (though it wasn't incredibly obvious and took a little dot-connecting).

There was something of a modern-ish flavour to the period mindset, at least from Our Hero, though not nearly as glaringly so as in Lindsay Davis' Marcus Didius Falco series, I find.

But it's her first novel and a pretty good job for all that; shame the e-book edition is riddled with noticeable and mildly distracting text errors (mostly missing or displaced punctuation and superfluous OCR hyphens rather than anything really teeth-grindingly wrong).

It was a fairly long book (over 8000 locations in the Kindle edition, though some of that was due to bonus chapter from the sequel) and the author helpfully put in a couple of historical notes about what was known about Roman Britain (not much) that she was able to use and what she more-or-less made up, which I always like to have.

Anyway, it's a freebie in several of the stores and at that price it was certainly worth my while and would have no qualms borrowing the rest of the series from the library. I just went and bought the second book in the series, Terra Incognita, which is promotionally tie-in priced at 99 cents, for 72 cents including taxes at the Kobo store with a discount coupon from the Deals forum.

Let's see if it's equally typo-ridden, but for less than 3 quarters, I'm not going to begrudge the cost.

Moderate recommendation for people who like ancient Rome, ancient Britain, or historical sleuths in general. Not the best I've read, but fairly enjoyable, enough so for me to seek out the sequels if I'm not paying too much.

But it's currently freebie, so if you think you'll be even vaguely interested, pick it up while you still can.
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