Ruso and the Root of All Evils

At last! Advance copies of the British edition of Ruso’s third adventure have just arrived at Downie Towers.  (It’s published as Persona non Grata in the USA.) Penguin have done a fine job with it, as ever. It’s in paperback and should hit the bookshops towards the end of April.

There’s more information and reviews on this page, but in the meantime here’s a shot of the cover, followed by the blurb from the back:

Cover of Ruso and the Root of All Evils

“Gaius Petreius Ruso, doctor to the Legions, is about to return home to Gaul after many years’ absence. Little does he realise the letter summoning him back has been forged, or that the sunny Mediterranean lifestyle conceals dark threats lurking at every corner. His family are in horrific debt to dangerous men and when the principal creditor, Severus, is poisoned in the Ruso home, they become the primary suspects in his murder.

“But the crimes go far deeper. What role did Severus play in the deliberate sinking of a cargo ship? Who are the brutal investigators sent by Rome? And how worrying is the outbreak of new religion, Christianity, in the neighbourhood?

“When Ruso takes a job stitching up gladiators in the local amphitheatre, matters come to a head. He’s literally in the lion’s den and even Tilla, his loyal servant, may not be able to save him from the clutches of a most devious murderer…”

6 thoughts on “Ruso and the Root of All Evils

  1. It’s been a long wait! I was tempted to buy the USA edition but heroically resisted. I’m so looking forward to the story and meeting Ruso’s family in Gaul.

    I don’t suppose there’s any chance of you visiting any West Sussex libraries? It’s a bit of a trek from where you are, what with the M25 circle of hell.

    Also, have you thought about doing a blog tour? Elizabeth Chadwick and some others do them.

    I think you or your publicist arranges with various book bloggers to do an interview or article about your novel.

    You’d be very welcome to do one on mine, but as it’s so woefully neglected by me at present, you’d probably have a readership of between one and three. I must remedy that this weekend.

    1. Thanks, Sarah!
      Re. libraries – I’d love to, but there’s the small matter of being invited… In the meantime I’d be happy to help remedy the woeful neglect of the blog.

  2. I noticed that the soldier on the cover has his sword in his left hand. Which makes me wonder if the cover image was flipped horizontally.

    I don’t know when it started, but for the longest time left-handedness was discouraged. Castles were even built in such a way that the sloping ceilings of passageways prevented attacking soldiers from drawing their swords, but allowed defenders to draw theirs. This continued right up until the 50’s. My cousin usually had her knuckles rapped with a ruler for writing with her left hand.

    I could just be nitpicking a perfectly good cover though. A sign of too much time on my hands. 🙂


    1. I have a nagging memory of reading somewhere, years ago, that Roman soldiers were required to wear their swords differently depending on rank. As they were promoted, the sword was worn first on one side, then on the other, then back again, with the result that they could get killed while wondering, “Left, right, where is the bloody thing?”

      Unfortunately I can’t remember the source, which was probably fictional and not to be relied on even if I could remember it, but it makes a nice story and is even semi-plausible, given the irrational way in which organizations often behave.

      1. Hi Jonathan,

        Not only a nice story, but partially true – a centurion wore his sword on the left and dagger on the right, and a legionary the other way round. (That’s from an article by Brian Dobson in Peter Connolly’s ‘Greece and Rome at war’.)

        Of course that wouldn’t determine which hand they used to wield it. I’ve always assumed soldiers would be trained to use the right hand when fighting or there would be odd gaps between the shields. No doubt somebody out there will know the answer to this one…?



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