Review: Tabula Rasa

Tabula Rasa: A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire (Gaius Petreius Ruso Series Book 6)Tabula Rasa: A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another wonderful instalment in the ongoing series featuring Gaius Petreius Ruso, Medicus of Rome’s Twentieth Legion, his wife, Tilla, and a cast of regular supporting characters.

This edition sees Ruso stationed with a work party from the Legion in the north of Brittania for the construction of Hadrian’s Wall. The start of a rumour that there might be the body of a murdered man entombed within the wall brings Ruso into the middle of intrigue and mystery as a local child goes missing, presumed kidnapped, one of his staff is missing, and the local Britons becoming increasingly incensed by their treatment by the Roman occupiers. The matters become even more complicated as Ruso’s wife, Tilla, discovers something of her past that changes many things for her and for Ruso.

Managing to unravel the dramatic events, even at the risk of his own life, and thus managing to quell potential rebellion and violence – at least for now – Ruso is once again a ‘hero’ to many, though not always with the appreciation of his Legion superiors or the local Briton leaders.

This is another wonderful narrative from Ruth Downie, with the protagonists and supporter characters becoming increasingly like old friends whose news and adventures you want to follow. While not historically accurate in the plain reading of that term, the historical authenticity of Downie’s narrative makes the whole story both believable and entertaining.

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