“A lot of people, Doctor, think the secret of success is getting rid of your enemies. They’re wrong. The secret . . . is being one step ahead of them.”
Ruso and Tilla’s excitement at arriving in Rome with their new baby daughter soon fades when they realize that the grand facades of polished marble mask an underworld of corrupt landlords and vermin-infested tenements. There are also far too many doctors – some skilled, but others positively dangerous.
Ruso is offered a reputable medical practice only to find that his predecessor Doctor Kleitos has fled, leaving a dead man in a barrel on the doorstep and the warning, “Be careful who you trust.” Distracted by the body and his efforts to help a friend win the hand of a rich young heiress, Ruso makes a grave mistake, causing him to question both his competence and his integrity.
With Ruso’s reputation under threat, he and Tilla must protect their small family from Doctor Kleitos’s enemies and find allies in their new home while they track down the vanished doctor and find out the truth about the heiress’s father and the unfortunate man in the barrel.
“…crammed with pithy characterisation (notably the intuitive Ruso), mordant humour and beautifully integrated historical detail.” – Financial Times
“Downie’s plotting is as engaging as ever, as she weaves the threads of a murder mystery into the very character-driven story…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
“There is a confident, unforced authenticity to the writing which makes the reader feel like a time traveller.” – Morning Star
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Hardback ISBN: 9781620409589
Paperback ISBN: 9781620409602
iven genre fiction.‘ – Historical Novel Society