I reviewed Downie’s first book, Medicus, here. This second in the series has less humor and more mystery. It is still a good read. Downie has presented both the Roman and Briton worlds fairly.
In this story, Doctor Ruso and his slave, Tilla, have joined 170 soldiers of the XX Legion on an excursion to the northern outpost town of Coria in part to prepare the way for a visit by the Roman Governor. The small fort there is manned by men of the X Legion, all of whom are from the north of Gaul and speak Latin with a German accent.
Tilla’s home is near Coria, or was until another tribe killed her parents and burned their house, carrying her into captivity. Ruso hoped the short trip would give her a chance to see friends and family before returning Deva.
Ruso is pressed into service as the fort’s doctor because Doctor Thessalus has gone mad and has confessed to the murder of a soldier.
In short, Ruso steps into deep dodo again.