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Medicus Investigation Books In Order

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Publication Order of Medicus Investigation Books

Medicus / Ruso and the Disappearing Dancing Girls (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Terra Incognita / Ruso and the Demented Doctor (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Persona Non Grata / Ruso and the Root of All Evils (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Caveat Emptor / Ruso and the River of Darkness (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Semper Fidelis (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Tabula Rasa (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vita Brevis (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Memento Mori (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Prima Facie (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Medicus Investigation is a series of historical fiction books written by bestselling author of historical fiction, mystery and thriller novels Ruth Downie. Medicus Investigation series features a main character named Gaius Petreius Ruso, a military medical officer who transfers to the 20th Legion in the rural Britannia Port of Deva now known as Chester to get his life back on track after his father’s death and a divorce ruin his marriage.

Ruth Downie began Medicus Investigation series in 2006 when Medicus the first book in the series was published.


In the first book in Medicus Investigation series, the author Ruth Downie makes use of tension that exist between the Roman army and the British local to create an engaging historical setting and a charming page-turning mystery.

Medicus introduces us to a Roman army doctor, Gaius Petreius Ruso who is trying to retain an excellent social image of his bankrupt family without letting anyone in the society know how bankrupt his father was. However one of his old acquaintance requests Ruso to join him in a remote outpost of the Roman Empire, and Ruso grabs the opportunity with the aim of making some good money to get him out of the bankruptcy situation and get a chance to escape from his ex-wife. But of course, Ruso’s friend mentions to him of the unwelcoming natives, the scorching weather and the hospital administration that Ruso would meet in Britannia.

While Ruso is trying to work for the promised army bonus and his payday cheque, a body of a young girl is brought into the local hospital where he works, and this sets in motion a local mystery. The soft-hearted army doctor cannot stop himself from investigating especially when a second body is discovered. Additionally, despite his bankruptcy, Ruso cannot stop himself from “buying” an injured slave girl and tending to her broken arm.

The first book in Medicus Investigation series is a brilliant read. It is almost impossible not to like Gaius Ruso whether he has it out with the hospital admin or whether he is trying to work on his guide to field medicine. He is a respectable good man who needs to be left alone to work and get enough money to improve his credit score, but it only appears that each effort only drags him into more unpleasant situations with the surly natives. Ruth Downie makes the same remarks about the miserable English weather and the natives. This is precisely how a Roman in Rome would think of the lands far beyond the Roman empire after the beautiful climate and indoor plumbing, but finding a British author vividly explain how desperate the culture and weather are in Britain is quite good.

One of the most active elements in the story that one can clearly see right from the first page to the last is the trading of human beings. Slaves are treated as commodities that have ownership and can be easily transferred from one person to another in exchange for money. They are of the ten abused, overexploited but is often seen as a norm in the nasty roman culture. Ruth Downie does not shy away from this element but instead make it the focus of the narrative.

The first mention of slavery is in the first few pages of chapter two. It is in this section that reads will come to discover that Gaius has an inherent empathy that he has tried to keep hidden just for him to survive in the primitive Roman society. The roman society often considered compassion as an indicator of weakness that every warrior in the community had to overcome. Compassion was only spread by Christians who often advocated against the killing of humans and animals for entertainment and slavery. So, Gaius, a Roman army medic must hide his compassionate side of him with the torment that evil continually creates.

Medicus takes place in the 117 A.D. after the Roman empire Trajan dies and is succeeded, by Hadrian. If you have read more about Roman history, then you will figure out that it’s during this time when Roman Empire actually strengthened its defense and when the protective wall of Northern England was created. Not considered an ancient Roman mystery book, Medicus shares some resemblance to Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff in how the background mystery supports the dramatic story. The underlying theme of the first Ruth Downie and Rosemary’s books is how the Romans and the Celtic cultures co-existed leading to the formation of Britain. This union was only possible because many of the Roman soldiers married local Celtic women.

Gaius and Tilla clearly illustrate the union between the Celtics and Romans; their relationships kick off when Tilla is still an oppressed slave girl to eventual trust, respect and love that can only exist between to equals. Some chapters in the novel are narrated from Tilla’s point of view, and Ruso and Tilla have much in common. They are both people who have experienced hard times, live in a strange land that’s not home and are both proud of their heritage. They struggle with their religious faith which often challenged in any corner. They both seek a purpose in life and strictly abide by very high standards.

Terra Incognita

In the second book in Medicus Investigation series Ruso finds himself caught in the midst of a murder mystery when he is escorting his servant back to her home village anticipating seeing her father again.

While on their way, the duo makes a stop at an Inn and Till manages to sneak outside during a storm to help a lady whose baby she had just delivered. But suddenly Till is shocked when she comes face to face with that she considers the Horned god Cernuous. Gaius Ruso is forced to go to a remote Roman outpost and leave a wounded traveler at the hand of the medic in the outpost. But instead, Gaius finds himself enlisted as a commanding officer. Things take an utterly twisted turn and soon Ruso finds himself as a negotiator trying to prevent a war between the outpost and Tilla’s village and at the same time hunting down the killer and keeping an eye on the servant- Tilla.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Medicus Investigation

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