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Old 02-12-2011, 10:56 PM   #8265
ATDrake
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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Had an extra-long transit trip this afternoon, so started and finished Ruth Downie's Terra Incognita: A Novel of the Roman Empire, 2nd in her Gaius Petreius Ruso ancient Roman Britain murder mystery series.

I bought this for 72 cents including tax at Kobo after reading Medicus, the 1st in the series, as a freebie (it is incidentally now back to free in several stores and the sequel is again down to < $2 pricing in several venues).

This sequel was well worth it. The first book was entertaining enough, but had some rough patches due to its being a first novel.

Terra Incognita is somewhat more polished, with the characters better characterized, and the writing a little less coy, and the narrative has a certain wry wit. As well, the whodunnit this time was one that I didn't see coming, but made good sense and was not an outlandish stretch, with plenty of misdirection as Ruso and Tilla between them try to untangle the plot while working at opposite ends (and occasionally at cross-purposes).

I rather liked this one, and picked up the 3rd book in hardcover while I was at the library, where I discovered that the UK edition of Terra Incognita is called
Spoiler:
Ruso and the Demented Doctor
, which kind of gives away part of the plot.

Anyway, a good successor to and improvement over the first book (and also might look better because it doesn't suffer from the horrible scannos and dropped punctuation that afflicted the e-book edition of Medicus); this again comes with some nifty author's notes in the back on the known and invented history used to supply setting and detail for the story (something about uprisings among the native tribes near the garrison), which I always appreciate in historical fiction.

Recommended for people who like ancient Romans, Roman Britain, snarky world-weary medical amateur sleuths who are put-upon by practically everyone around them, and especially those who like to get all of the above at a dirt-cheap promotional price.

I think I'll be picking up the official Kindle version of this currently on sale at 99 cents, too, just to encourage the publisher by monetarily demonstrating that if they give me one good book that I like for free and also offer its sequel for less than a dollar, I'm perfectly happy to buy, and they should do it again with some other books.

Last edited by ATDrake; 02-12-2011 at 11:00 PM.
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