SEMPER FIDELES by Ruth Downie

Semper FiOh goodie!  The most recent in the series by Ruth Downie set in Roman-occupied Britain in the 100s, starring our Medicus, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his native Britain wife, Tilla, of a northern tribe.

As you may recall, Tilla started out as a slave being abused by a dealer, and kind-hearted Ruso bought her, treated her broken arm, and kept her on, only to discover she couldn’t cook and her housekeeping was iffy, but she was a great midwife, and definitely knew the ways of the natives tribespeople.

After marrying in Gaul, returning to Britain and being unsuccessful at finding civilian work, Ruso re-ups in the Roman army, and he and Tilla his wife are in Eboracum in the year 122 A.D.  hoping for a peaceful time as chief medical officer while they wait for the departure of the 20th Legion back to Deva.

Yeah, well, good luck with that, Doc.  There seems to be something wrong;  the recruits are certain they are cursed as several of their number have died, and one committed suicide, and one has run away.  This is not looking good for the guy in charge of them, especially with Emperor Hadrian on his way with his wife for a stopover before heading farther north to inspect the progress of his great wall.   Ha.

This time Doc Ruso gets in some serious hot water trying to find out without authorization just what has happened to the dead recruits, and help from a former pupil is not exactly forthcoming.

As always, Tilla, bless her heart, can’t stay out of things either, and it is hard to tell whether she makes things worse or better, but on the upside, by now she is learning to read and write a bit, and has secret plans to learn how to be a medicus as well, not just a midwife.

Another great intricately plotted story with characters we love and characters we love to hate.  And more of those small interesting details of life in the second century after the birth of Christ.  Makes ya grateful for indoor plumbing and shock absorbers on our vehicles.

 

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