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Persona Non Grata


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"We know Downie is sharpening her knives for Ruso's next surgically precise adventure. Enormous fun: another lively winner from a newly established mistress of the genre." -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

About the Author

Ruth Downie is the author of the New York Times bestselling Medicus and Terra Incognita. She is married with two sons and lives in Milton Keynes, England.


While recovering from an injury incurred in Britannia while serving with the Roman army, Gaius Ruso receives a mysterious summons and heads home to Gaul to find his estate in danger of bankruptcy. When the major creditor drops dead, Ruso is at the top of the list of poisoning suspects. Proven to be something of an investigator in the two previous books in the series, Ruso nimbly thwarts obstacles to track down the true murderer. It is understood that the characters are speaking Latin, Greek, and various ancient languages of the British Isles. This might prove a challenge to a lesser reader, but the mighty Simon Vance takes it in stride. He gives the characters British accents of differing classes or regions, and this creative twist gives the light, entertaining historical mystery added charm and vitality. A Bloomsbury hardcover (Reviews, May 18). (Sept.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

For years, Ruso has served as a medical officer in the army of the Roman Empire, but a broken foot and a cryptic message, "Come home," have sent him hobbling back to Gaul on extended medical leave. Accompanying him is Tilla, his Briton-born, barbarian companion. Even though he knew that his family was in dire straits financially, Ruso hadn't anticipated the absolute chaos awaiting him-the vineyards are falling into ruin and facing foreclosure, his sisters are dowerless, the family gives Tilla a chilly reception while plotting to marry Ruso off to the wealthy widow living next door, and his first wife's new husband is fatally poisoned. Unfortunately, Ruso is the only witness to the poisoning, and the victim is the family's chief creditor, which puts Ruso in the awkward position of being both criminal investigator and primary suspect. This lively sequel to Medicus and Terra Incognita continues Downie's delightful historical series. Her characters are wonderfully memorable, particularly the dry and acerbic Ruso, whose internal dialog provides some genuinely funny laugh-out-loud moments despite shipwrecks, ex-wives, gruesome gladiatorial games, unruly children, family discord, and, of course, mayhem and murder. Highly recommended.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage P.L., AK Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Praise for Medicus: "I loved this book."-Scott Simon, NPR "Wonderfully entertaining."-Newsweek Praise for Terra Incognita One hell of a toga party Entertainment Weekly

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