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Vita Brevis


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"The seventh adventure for Downie's physician hero masterfully draws out its suspense, painting a vivid portrait of ancient Rome that feels persuasive and authentic." -Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Ruth Downie is the author of the New York Times bestselling Medicus, as well as Terra Incognita, Persona Non Grata, Caveat Emptor, Semper Fidelis, and Tabula Rasa. She is married with two sons and lives in Devon, England.


Downie writes with her usual humor and depth ... Perfect for fans of the Falco novels by Lindsey Davis, this entertaining New York Times best-selling series and its endearing characters deserve as long a run. Booklist The seventh adventure for Downie's physician hero (Tabula Rasa, 2014, etc.) masterfully draws out its suspense, painting a vivid portrait of ancient Rome that feels persuasive and authentic. Kirkus Reviews Downie's plotting is as engaging as ever, as she weaves the threads of a murder mystery into the very character-driven story of Ruso and Tilla. While marital strife under the pressures of a new home and a new baby in the household could have proven tedious, these two characters and their relationship are so charmingly portrayed that every domestic scene seems of a piece. The tension between Tilla's rebellious nature and the ideal of a 'Good Roman Wife,' and the tension between Ruso's outer gruffness and inner integrity make this Medicus installment much more than a mystery novel. Historical Novel Society Ruth Downie's books about second-century AD Roman Army doctor Ruso and his British wife Tilla, herself a healer and midwife, are among my favourite of all historical crime series. There is a confident, unforced authenticity to the writing which makes the reader feel like a time traveller. -- Mat Coward Morning Star (UK) Since Lindsey Davis first began her Falco series, a number of authors have attempted to infiltrate the ancient Roman mystery subgenre ... but only Ruth Downie has managed it with her own distinctive panache. History Buff Vita Brevis is crammed with pithy characterisation (notably the intuitive Ruso), mordant humour and beautifully integrated historical detail. Financial Times A deftly crafted and consistently compelling read from beginning to end, Vita Brevis clearly establishes author Ruth Downie as a consummate and accomplished master of historical crime fiction ... Very highly recommended. Midwest Book Review A Ruth Downie novel offers many pleasures, not least of them the humorously conflicted marriage between Roman citizen Ruso and the Briton Tilla ... but where Vita Brevis really scores is in its contemporary resonances with Ruso and Tilla's immigrant experience ... Meticulously researched, the Ruso novels are historical mysteries to rank alongside those of Lindsey Davis. Irish Times

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