Much of what Legionary medicus Ruso has been told about Britannia isn’t true. Unfortunately much of what he’s told by his local expert – the enigmatic and independent-minded Tilla – may not be true either. And when it comes to murder, somebody is lying to both of them.


“Human, satisfying and meticulously researched, Downie’s series is always a pleasure to read.” Imogen Robertson, Historia magazine 


Click on the covers to find out more!

Out now – Book VIII

Memento Mori

Cover of Memento Mori, US editionBritish cover of MEMENTO MORI with mosaic of woman floating in waterA scandal is threatening to engulf the popular spa town of Aquae Sulis (modern-day Bath). The wife of Ruso’s best friend, Valens, has been found dead in the sacred hot spring, stabbed through the heart. Fearing the wrath of the goddess and the ruin of the tourist trade, the temple officials are keen to cover up what’s happened. But the dead woman’s father is demanding justice, and he’s accusing Valens of murder.

To read the start of Memento Mori, click here.

Book VII

Vita Brevis

Ruso and Tilla’s excitement at arriving in Rome with their baby daughter is soon dulled by their discovery that the grand facades of polished marble mask an underworld of corrupt landlords and vermin-infested tenements. And then they find that someone’s left a dead man in a barrel on their doorstep.

To read the start of Vita Brevis, click here.


Book VI

Tabula Rasa

Ruso and Tilla are back in the borderlands of Britannia, where he is tending the builders of Hadrian’s Great Wall. Having been forced to move off their land, the Britons are distinctly on edge and are still smarting from the failure of a recent rebellion. The tension grows when Ruso’s recently-arrived clerk goes missing and things go from bad to worse when the young son of a local family also vanishes.



 Book V

Semper Fidelis

Cover of Semper Fidelis paperbackAll is not well with the Twentieth Legion. A young soldier has jumped off a roof, killing himself, but no-one will say why. Mysterious injuries, and even deaths, begin to pile up, and it soon becomes clear that this suicide is not an isolated incident. Can the men really be under a curse? Bound by his sense of duty and ill-advised curiosity, Ruso asks questions nobody wants to hear during the Emperor Hadrian’s visit – while Tilla starts to find some of the answers.


 Book IV

Caveat Emptor

(formerly Ruso and the River of Darkness)

Cover of Caveat EmptorRuso and Tilla are in the town of Verulamium, where a tax man named Julius Asper has gone missing, along with a lot of money. Compelled to delve deeper when Asper is found murdered, Ruso discovers that the good townsfolk may not be as loyal to Rome as they like to appear. He and Tilla are trapped at the heart of a conspiracy involving theft, forgery, buried treasure and the legacy of Boudica, the rebel queen.


Book III

Persona non Grata

(formerly Ruso and the Root of all Evils)

Cover of Persona Non GrataRuso’s headed home to Gaul – but with Tilla getting icy looks from his relatives, a family member mysteriously drowned at sea, and the whole household teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, it’s hard to imagine an unhappier reunion. That is, until Severus, the family’s chief creditor, winds up dead, and the real trouble begins…


Book II

Terra Incognita

(formerly Ruso and the Demented Doctor)

UK cover of TERRA INCOGNITATerra Incognita cover, links to Bloomsbury websiteRuso and his slave Tilla travel to the uncivilised borders of the empire, where Roman-controlled Britannia meets the independent tribes of the North. Ruso, unwillingly pulled into a murder investigation, is appalled to find that Tilla is spending time with the prime suspect. Soon both Ruso’s and Tilla’s lives are in jeopardy, as is the future of their burgeoning romance.


 Book I


(formerly Ruso/Medicus and the Disappearing Dancing Girls) 

Medicus cover published by Bloomsbury USADivorced and down on his luck, Ruso has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in a remote outpost of the Roman empire – Britannia. In a moment of weakness he rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner. Now he has a slave who won’t talk, can’t cook and drags trouble in her wake – and he’s caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar.

You can read the first two chapters of Medicus here.



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