The good folks at Bloomsbury USA tell me that “Persona non Grata“, Ruso and Tilla’s third adventure, is a Kindle deal on for the whole of July. Apparently you can take an imaginary trip to Roman Gaul for only $1.99!*

Sadly friends this side of the pond can’t access it, but as “Ruso and the Root of All Evils” the same book is available to borrow via your local library for even less. Or you could go wild and buy it!

*  LATER – please check before you click: we can’t see the US prices from here and I’m told that it has also appeared at $3.99… ebook pricing is, as we all know, governed by the new moon and the wind in the east…


More Ruso for less money!

Check your Kindle on 10 December!

For readers who have an account with (the American site)- PERSONA NON GRATA,  the third Ruso book, is scheduled to be the Kindle Daily Deal on Monday 10 December. Grab it while you can!

Win a copy of SEMPER FIDELIS!

As we  Britons won’t be able to access the Deal, we’re having a free draw instead. For  a chance to win one of three copies of the next Ruso novel, SEMPER FIDELIS, just let me know your email address on the form below (it won’t be passed on to anyone else) by 31 December.

Winners will be announced on the blog on 1 January.

Persona Non Grata on Kindle

… or rather, NOT on Kindle at the moment due to a technical hitch. Apologies to anyone who’s tried to download it in the last few days.   The folk at Bloomsbury are on the case, and it’ll be back very soon.

Many thanks to Sandy and Vicky, who got in touch to ask where it was.


A blessing, a curse and a warning

A blessing upon:  the good folk of Lancashire,  Staffordshire and Leicestershire, who apparently borrowed more Ruso books from their libraries than anyone else in the UK in 2008-9.  This isn’t really a fair comparison, since I got the figures from the PLR (Public Lending Right) website and they only include the sample libraries chosen for that year. But thank you anyway.  I hope you enjoyed them.

A curse upon:  the gremlins who seem to have invaded the British distribution  of  ‘Ruso and the Demented Doctor’ and ‘Ruso and the Root of All Evils’. There are a few copies in a box under the desk here, so if Santa needs one urgently and the local bookshop can’t oblige, please get in touch – see below.

A warning: the gremlins have also struck the email system. I would blame the snow (since it’s being blamed for everything else) but we haven’t had any. Anyway,  if you’ve made contact recently and not had an answer, please try again. To outwit the gremlins,  use the ‘comment’ option below, and if it’s really just intended for me, put ‘not for the blog’ on it.


Thanks, Tony.

The smiling chap is the excellent Tony Kesten, a fellow-excavator at Whitehall Roman Villa. Tony happens to be a friend of the librarian at Monticello, NY, and managed to pull off a publicity double-act last week by giving copies of all three Ruso books to the library and having himself photographed with them while modelling this year’s Whitehall teeshirt.

Tony in Monticello Public Library

Now that’s what I call enterprising. Meanwhile, some of us were hard at work back in the trenches.

Ruth in trench with trowel
"You mean I was supposed to find something down here?"

Free book draw!

Last week while I was enjoying a fine lunch arranged by the good folk at Penguin to celebrate the publication of ‘Ruso and the Root of All Evils’, it dawned on me that it would be nice to share the fun.

Leftover lunch didn’t seem like much of an offer, and I wondered if anyone would like the chance of a free book instead. So… signed copies will go to the first two readers whose names come out of the hat and who have correctly answered the not-terribly- taxing questions below.

You don’t need to have read the book yet (that would be pointless, really, wouldn’t it?). All the answers are in the research photos you can find either here on the blog or, for a closer look, under the Photos tab on the Ruso and Tilla Facebook page.

I. Which emperor is the gate named after?

II. Where is the amphitheatre that features in the story?

III. What is the name of the gladiator on the tombstone?

Answers via the box below*, please, by the end of Wednesday 12 May.

(Anyone anywhere is welcome to enter. Winners in the US or Canada will get the American edition, ‘Persona non Grata’, so you won’t have to wince at the spellings.)

*13 May – now removed – it’s too late!

Another technological adventure

Following the more-or-less successful foray into slideshows (see below) I’ve finally plucked up the courage to venture onto Facebook. Or rather, Ruso and Tilla have. (They don’t anticipate Twittering any day soon, though. They have more urgent things to do and their author has no plans to inflict the spectacular tedium of her daily life on anyone else.)

Do stroll across to Facebook if you’d like a closer look at the slideshow pictures, though*, and to see the lovely  silhouette of a Roman re-enactor and his partner, photographed  by my friend Jen Bewick at Hadrian’s Wall.

* for those who haven’t tackled Facebook before, click on the ‘Photos’ tab when you get there. No doubt this was obvious to everyone except me.

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…”