Tabula Rasa: A Crime Novel of the Roman Empire

Ruth Downie. Bloomsbury, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-60819-708-8
Downie’s sixth whodunit set in second-century Britannia (after 2013’s Semper Fidelis) immediately transports the reader to another time and place with an evocative description of work on Hadrian’s Wall in the midst of an unrelenting rainstorm (“It was easy to believe that the rain threw itself at you personally; hard not to feel persecuted and aggrieved when it found its way into your boots no matter how much grease you slathered on them”). When Candidus, Roman medico Gaius Ruso’s new clerk, goes missing, Ruso uses his many connections—he’s rumored to be personally acquainted with Emperor Hadrian, and is married to a local, Tilla, whose relatives view him, understandably, with distrust—to find out what happened to Candidus. While the mystery itself isn’t one of the author’s more gripping, the book plausibly depicts life in Roman Britain and tensions between the occupiers and the occupied. Agent: George Lucas, Inkwell Management. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/23/2014
Release date: 08/05/2014
Genre: Fiction
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MP3 CD - 978-1-4945-5278-7
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-63286-104-7
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