Tabula Rasa : The Roman Empire

  • by Ruth Downie
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • Series: The Roman Empire
  • 10 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The medicus Ruso and his wife, Tilla, are back in the borderlands of Britannia, this time helping to tend the builders of Hadrian's Great Wall. Having been forced to move off their land, the Britons are distinctly on edge. Then Ruso's recently arrived clerk, Candidus, goes missing. A native boy thinks he sees a body being hidden inside the wall's half-finished stonework, and a worrying rumor begins to spread. When soldiers ransack the nearby farms looking for Candidus, Tilla's tentative friendship with a local family turns to anger and disappointment. Tensions only increase when Branan, the family's youngest son, also vanishes. As Ruso and Tilla try to solve the mystery of the two disappearances - while at the same time struggling to keep the peace between the Britons and the Romans - an intricate scheme involving slavery, changed identities, and fur trappers emerges, and it becomes imperative that Ruso find Branan before it's too late.

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What the Critics Say

"Like the other titles in the series, Downie's latest mixes an engaging story line, provocative characters, and a satisfying evocation of time and place." (Library Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Love Downie as usual, but ANGRY with Vance

What did you love best about Tabula Rasa?

Ruth Downie hasn't lost her touch.


What do you think the narrator could have done better?

I've loved the entire series, but for some reason Simon Vance apparently decided not to review what his character voices sounded like before doing this book. 2/3 of the way through the book, Albanus (a recurring character in all of the books) shows up and suddenly has a heavy accent?! It is the most distracting thing I've ever heard, and I actually stopped listening to write this complaint. Albanus is one of my favorite characters, and I've been waiting most of the book for him to arrive, and now I just want to throw something every time he talks. Seriously, Simon Vance is generally better than this, and I don't understand it. Even the minor characters that have only shown up once or twice before are correct to their original renditions, but Albanus, a major character, is so far off as to be unrecognizable. Why, Simon? Why?!


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- C. L. Ortiz

A Pleasure to Read

This is book six in the Gaius Ruso series. This historical fiction series is best if it is read in order.

Ruso is a medical officer in the Roman Legion stationed in Briton. He married a native Briton, Tila. In this story Ruso and Tila are caught in a conflict between the Romans and Britons. There is a rumor a body is buried in the Hadrian’s Wall. Ruso’s medical clerk is missing. A Briton boy is missing and the family is related to Tila. With the Britons teetering on the edge of rebellion, Ruso and Tila attempt to discover who took the boy.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. The plot spirals and bends enough to keep the reader’s attention. Downie continues to develop the key characters. Russo’s relationship with Tila matures. Russo evolves with each installment rather than remaining a static character. I appreciate Downie’s attention to detail both historical and human. I also enjoyed the dry British humor.

Simon Vance does a superb job narrating the book. Vance is a stage, film and TV actor who is also an award winning audiobook narrator. I always enjoy a book narrated by Vance.
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- Jean "I am an avid eclectic reader."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-05-2014
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio