Sunday, December 30, 2012

Semper Fidelis by Ruth Downie

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Semper Fidelis (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #5)Historical Mystery
Goodreads Summary: 
Back at his post as a doctor in the Twentieth legion in Roman-occupied Britain, Ruso uncovers a new danger even closer to home than the neighboring barbarians. As mysterious injuries, and even deaths, begin to appear in the medical ledgers, it's clear that all is not well amongst the native recruits to Britannia's imperial army. Is the much- decorated Centurion Geminus preying on his weaker soldiers? And could this be related to the appearance of Emperor Hadrian? Bound by his sense of duty and ill-advised curiosity, Ruso begins to ask questions nobody wants to hear. Meanwhile his barbarian wife, Tilla, is finding out some of the answers-and marked as a security risk by the very officers Ruso is interrogating. With Hadrian's visit looming large, the fates of the legion, Tilla, and Ruso himself hang in the balance.
Ruth Downie has done it again.  Semper Fidelis is another great story in this mystery series. Just a quick warning, there are a few spoilers in my post.
If you have not read any of this series don’t start here.  Go back to book one where you first met the two main characters, Ruso and Tilla.  Russo is a depressed, unhappy person.  His father squandered all of the family money before he died and Ruso as the oldest son is the one who has to keep the family afloat.  He is doing this by serving as a doctor in the Roman Army in Britain.  Most of his pay goes to his family in Gaul.  Tilla is a native of Britain and life has not been kind to her.  In spite of everything that has happened to her she remains upbeat.  The two seem to be a real mismatch.
There is a big change in the two characters when you get to Semper Fidelis. Even though Russo and Tilla start out in a good place that changes for the worse.  They arrive at a unit where all is not as it seems.  Bad things happen to both but like previous books they work together to find the truth. Even though Russo just wants to be a doctor he is forced into investigation again.
One of the great things about this series is how Ruth Downie works the history of the Romans in Britain into the story.  I think it helps that she lives where much of the story is set and can visit the sites she writes about.  I get a real picture of life in Britain under the Romans. 
I did think I saw a foreshadowing of an event that will bring further change to the lives of Russo and Tilla.  I will just have to wait and see.
I received a ARC of Semper Fidelis from Netgalley.
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Bloomberg will release Semper Fidelis by Ruth Downie in January of 2013.

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