Mosaic of dead soldier cover of TABULA RASA
British cover

“Tell them to find that boy. They must find that boy, or everything our lads fought and died for will be thrown away.”

Ruso and his wife Tilla are back in the borderlands of Britannia, this time helping to tend the builders of Hadrian’s Great Wall. But the work is behind schedule, the local tribes are resentful and there are worrying rumours of a body being hidden inside the stonework. When the boy accused of spreading the rumours goes missing, the tension between the soldiers and the locals threatens to erupt into a full-scale rebellion.

TABULA RASA paperback cover
American cover
 TABULA RASA was chosen as one of the “Best Books of 2014” by Crime Always Pays

‘With a finely wrought plot, a densely woven cast of characters and plenty of action, this is a book to savour to the last sentence.’ – MC Scott, author of the Rome and Boudica series.

‘…immediately transports the reader to another time and place.’  – Publishers Weekly

‘Downie writes with quiet authority and surprising depth, offering an engaging depiction of an obscure slice of history.’ –  Kirkus Reviews

 ‘Downie’s attention to detail – both historical detail and human detail – makes this series a joy to read for the mystery lover, the classics fan, or anyone seeking more character-driven genre fiction.‘ – Historical Novel Society
Here’s the button to add it to your Goodreads shelf:     Tabula Rasa: A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire

UK Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1916469457

US Paperback ISBN- 13: 978-1632861047

US Hardback ISBN-13: 978-1620403235

UK edition available from Amazon, US/Canada edition from  Bloomsbury USA and all good bookshops.


21 thoughts on “Book VI

  1. Can’t wait. Love her ability to make you think of how it would actually feel living back then, in the army, with that technology, those beliefs and all the different relationships of people with and without power. Kinda like today.

    1. Thank you Steve. Imagining how things might have been (through modern eyes, but I don’t have any others) is definitely the best part of writing them!

  2. When will this book be released on CD? My father in law is a truck driver and really enjoys listening to this book series on CD while driving down the road.

    1. Oh! I thought it already was, Christina, but maybe just MP3 – I’ll check. Whereabouts is your father in law? (I mean which country, not right this minute.)

  3. We are in the United States. I’ve looked everywhere and haven’t been able to find it. Simper Fidelis has been a difficult find too. After a year of searching I have finally found one on CD for him. 🙂 The MP3 CD form doesn’t work with his semi, otherwise we would have been set a year ago. haha Thanks Ruth!

    1. Thanks Christina – I’m a bit clueless about the MP3/CD thing but will see what I can find out. I like the idea of Ruso and Tilla taking a US road trip!

  4. Hi Ruth,
    Thank you so much for tracking that down for me! Everything worked out great and my father-in-law will be thrilled come Christmas. Again, thank you and Happy Holidays!

  5. Will this book be available for Kindle? I don’t seem to be able to find it in the Kindle Store yet. I’ve just finished Semper Fidelis and am feeling impatient!

    1. Hi Amy,
      Well, that’s weird. I don’t know what’s gone wrong – it WAS there, and has been available for some months. Now it’s vanished. I’m so sorry. I’ll chase the publishers as soon as they’re back at their desks on Monday. Meanwhile I’m delighted that you’re keen to read it, but that’s not much help to you really, is it?
      More news soon, hopefully.
      Best wishes,

      1. Right, it’s back! TABULA RASA is now available to download for Kindle. Phew. Thanks to Amy for pointing out the problem.

  6. Ruth:

    My husband is such a big fan of yours and I was so excited when I got an e-mail from Amazon saying that your new book is being released in November. I went to order it and realized the book was written by you, as well as a bunch of other authors. My question is, does this book have enough of your input to satisfy my husband? 🙂



    1. Hi Kathryn! “A Year of Ravens” is a collection of supposedly stand-alone tales by 7 authors that actually fit together to tell the story of the Boudican rebellion. It’s somewhere between 140,000 and 160,000 words long – I forget exactly, sorry – and about 20,000 of them are mine. Although several of the characters appear all the way through, each of us handles the story from a different viewpoint and we all have very different styles, so for example while I’m seeing events through the eyes of a slave girl in Boudica’s household, the tales involving battles are written by people who are far more skilled at that sort of thing than I am (two of them are re-enactors who’ve actually worn the kit, done the marching and handled the weaponry). It’s a very different sort of book from the Medicus series and clearly not a mystery, but I’ve been fascinated to see how the story’s come alive as my colleagues have pitched in with their own imaginative take on events. As for whether your husband will be satisfied with my input… oh dear! Will anyone? Who knows?

  7. Ms. Downie,

    You have brought me so much fun and joy and entertainment with these books! Deep characters, humor, a well painted picture of Roman Britain and how people lived. I’m so thankful for your Ruso books and I hope for many more! Seriously, many thanks to you. These are my favorite, favorite books. Thank you so much for these gems.

    1. Oh Tawnya, that’s lovely! Thank you so much for your kind words. Definitely the best part of my day today – most of the rest of it has been spent unwriting paragraphs that seemed perfectly OK this time last week!
      Very best wishes,

  8. Fell upon the series whick is the 6th book. I love your writing so much, am now trying to work back in time. Than you so much for cherring up grey winters afternoons.


  9. Dear Ruth,
    I only recently discovered your books and have come to truly love them! I bought all as audiobooks and think Simon Vance is a superb narrator.
    I was so sorry to finish the last title, Memento Mori, that I decided to listen to each book again. You have done a wonderful job with the Ruso and Tilla stories as well as transporting your readers to the fascinating, but distant world of Roman Britain! The mysteries and the deep-dive into another world have completely captivated me’ I hope you plan to write more books about Ruso the Medicus and his amazing wife, Tilla.
    P.S. Please keep Valens in the loop too! He is so funny!
    Now a faithful reader and fan,

    1. Melyssa, I am SO sorry for failing to reply to your lovely comment! Somehow it slipped under the radar. It’s great to know that you’re enjoying the books.
      There is, in theory, another book on the way although it seems to be taking forever to write. But you’ll be pleased to hear that Valens is definitely in it (and Ruso is currently wondering why, because he’s really supposed to be somewhere else).

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