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This is the fourth book in the "Medicus" series. First I have to say one of the reasons I started this series was the narrator Simon Vance, I always enjoy his reading of a novel, especially historical novels. Each of these book are crime thrillers, set in the time of ancient Rome, during the reign of Emperor Hadrian. Also involving the invasion of the British Isles. I am a lover of historical novels and Ruth Downie does a wonderful job with her time lines and her story line. I would recommend, starting the series with book #1 "Medicus", to get the background on the characters, however each book can stand on it's own. I always find myself hating for each of these books to end. I also suggest, the anyone who has not listened to this narrator listen to a sample that Audible offers, then you will know if you like his style.(I suggest that will all books)
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Ruth Downie does a great job of involving us in the lives of her characters, and her evocation of life in Roman Britannia is sure handed and masterful. If you have read previous books in this series, you will already be invested in Russo's life with his British wife, Tilla, and if you have not, it will not take you long to develop real affection for them.
Unfortunately, I found the plot for this book to be a bit plodding. It did not engage me consistently as I expect a murder mystery to do whatever its setting may be. In addition, the book fairly limps to its ending with very little in the way of satisfaction. As a result, despite the author's deft touch when it comes to creating very human characters, I found this a dreary listen at times and was ready for it to end.
As usual, Simon Vance's narration was superb.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Caveat Emptor: A Novel of the Roman Empire to be better than the print version?
I haven't read the print version, so can't compare the two.
What did you like best about this story?
The bored Empress, Sabina made me laugh.
Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances? How does this one compare?
This is the 5th Russo book I've listened to, narrated by Simon Vance. His delivery is consistently very good but his accent's let him down a bit.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Too long to listen to in a oner. It took 2/3 sittings.
Any additional comments?
I really enjoy the good nature and long suffering Russo getting himself into a mess and finding his way out again.
Ruso and Tilla back in Britain find themselves manipulated and or dragged from London to St Albans (Verulamium). Lots of bad guys, threats and insights into life in a prosperous Roman town and human nature. Good entertainment. Simon Vance has enough lightness in his voice to match the tone of the story well.
Boring, tedious, depressing and without action. It would should be relegated to the the garbage tip
I was disappointed with the book before this one but gave the series one more chance because the first two were quite good.
Ruth Downie again squanders the previous quirkiness of the characters and their relationships; Ruso, Tilla and Valens.
Although there is less of the endless introspection... going through the multitude of "What If ... or IF ... or IF ..." For a man who so thoroughly explores the possible ramifications of his actions, or those of others, this Ruso gets taken for an idiot many times.
Sadly Tilla has much the same interpretation now. The interaction between Ruso and Tilla, which seemed to have been about two very different cultures sorting themselves out, has been entrenched as something far more prosaic.
The first two books I have of Ruso were narrated by Peter Kenny and Sean Barrett. I see the versions currently available are by Simon Vance.
I don't think Vance's style suites the narrative. He seems stuck in a soft drawl with an end of sentence upswing that makes all the sentences come out about the same. He is quite good with character, but Ruso's endless internal dialogue needs more nuance; as Kenny and Barrett gave him. Kenny's and Barrett's Valens is a much more distinct character, less stereotypical.
Vances' sentences as narrator almost always end with the final vowel being drawn out; not "bed", but "be...d" (poorly illustrated here) in a very quiet, flat way. I get that it is a reading, but still ...
I accidentally missed out an hour of the book about half way through. I found I got the gist quickly, so didn't bother going back; sadly. As with the last volume, I might just skip ahead to the final hour.
I'll keep an eye on the series in the hope that it returns to something more like the first two books; and return any (all) that disappoint.