Ruth Downie books in order
Ruth Downie is a British author of historical mystery and historical fiction novels.
Born in North Devon, England, Downie never had aspirations of becoming a writer while growing up, a fact that might surprise some of her readers.
Armed with an English degree, her grand scheme had always been to get married and lead a life filled with everlasting happiness.
However, while on an educational family trip to Hadrian's Wall, Downie’s creativity was sparked when she read that Roman soldiers could engage in relationships with local women but were prohibited from marrying them.
This marked the beginning of a journey that ultimately led to the birth of the Medicus Investigation Series.
Whenever she isn’t immersed in research or writing the Ruso novels, Downie indulges in the occasional, delightful week of archaeological excavation in an attempt to unearth the remnants of Roman Britain.
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Mystery
- A Year of Ravens: A novel of Boudica's Rebellion (2015)
HWA Short Story Collection
- Rubicon (Book 1) (2019)
- Medicus (2006)
- Terra Incognita (2008)
- Persona Non Grata (2009)
- Caveat Emptor (2010)
- Semper Fidelis (2013)
- Tabula Rasa (2014)
- Vita Brevis (2016)
- Memento Mori (2018)
- Prima Facie: A Medicus Investigation Novella (2019)
- Bear and the Wolf (2017)
Detailed book overview
A calculating queen foresees the fires of rebellion in a king's death.
A neglected slave girl seizes her own courage as Boudica calls for war.
An idealistic tribune finds manhood in a brutal baptism of blood and slaughter.
A death-haunted Druid challenges the gods themselves to ensure victory for his people.
A conflicted young warrior finds himself torn between loyalties to tribe and to Rome.
An old champion struggles for everlasting glory in the final battle against the legions.
A pair of fiery princesses fight to salvage the pieces of their mother’s dream as the ravens circle.
A novel in seven parts, overlapping stories of warriors and peacemakers, queens and slaves, Romans and Britons who cross paths during Boudica’s epic rebellion. But who will survive to see the dawn of a new Britannia, and who will fall to feed the ravens?
HWA Short Story Collection
Ten acclaimed authors. Ten gripping stories.
Immerse yourself in Ancient Rome through a collection of thrilling narratives, featuring soldiers, statesmen and spies.
Read about some of your favourite characters from established series, or be introduced to new writers in the genre.
The stories in Rubicon are, like Rome, diverse and intriguing - involving savage battles, espionage, political intrigue and the lives of ordinary - and extraordinary - Romans, such as Ovid, Marcus Agrippa and a young Julius Caesar.
This brand new collection, brought to you by the Historical Writers' Association, also includes interviews with each author.
Find out more about their writing processes and what attracts them to the Roman world.
View Ancient Rome through fresh eyes.
NB: Here is the complete list of books in the series by various authors:
1. Rubicon (2019)
2. By the Sword (2020)
3. Royal Blood (2020)
4. Victoriana (2020)
Divorced and down on his luck, Gaius Petreius Ruso has made the rash decision to seek his fortune in an inclement outpost of the Roman Empire, namely Britannia. In a moment of weakness, after a straight thirtysix-hour shift at the army hospital, he succumbs to compassion and rescues an injured slave girl, Tilla, from the hands of her abusive owner.
Now he has a new problem: a slave who won't talk and can't cook, and drags trouble in her wake. Before he knows it, Ruso is caught in the middle of an investigation into the deaths of prostitutes working out of the local bar. Now Ruso must summon all his forensic knowledge to find a killer who may be after him next.
With a gift for comic timing and historical detail, Ruth Downie has conjured an ancient world as raucous and real as our own.
NB: This book is also known as Ruso and the Disappearing Dancing Girls.
It is spring in the year of 118, and Hadrian has been Emperor of Rome for less than a year. After getting involved with the murders of local prostitutes in the town of Deva, Doctor Gaius Petreius Ruso needs to get out of town, so has volunteered for a posting with the Army on the volatile border where the Roman-controlled half of Britannia meets the independent tribes of the North. Not only is he going to the hinterlands of the hinterlands, but it his slave Tilla's homeland and she has some scores to settle there.
Soon they find that Tilla's tribespeople are being encouraged to rebel against Roman control by a mysterious leader known as the Stag Man, and her former lover is implicated in the grisly murder of a soldier. Ruso, unwillingly involved in the investigation of the murder, is appalled to find that Tilla is still spending time with the lover. Worse, he is honor bound to try to prove the man innocent - and the Army wrong - by finding another suspect. Soon both Ruso's and Tilla's lives are in jeopardy, as is the future of their burgeoning romantic relationship.
NB: This book is also known as Ruso and the Demented Doctor.
At long last, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, Tilla, are headed home to Gaul. But with Tilla getting icy greetings from Ruso's relatives, a family member having mysteriously drowned at sea, and the whole Ruso household teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, it's hard to imagine an unhappier reunion. That is, until Severus, the family's chief creditor, winds up dead, and the real trouble begins...
NB: This book is also known as Ruso and the Root of All Evils.
Ruso and Tilla, now newlyweds, have moved back to Britannia, where Ruso's old friend and colleague Valens has promised to help him find work. But it isn't the kind of work he'd had in mind-Ruso is tasked with hunting down a missing tax man named Julius Asper.
Of course, there's also something else missing: money. And the council of the town of Verulamium is bickering over what's become of it. Compelled to delve deeper by a threat from his old sparring partner, Metellus, Ruso discovers that the good townsfolk may not be as loyal to Rome as they like to appear.
While Tilla tries to comfort Asper's wife, an anonymous well-wisher is busy warning the couple to get away from the case before they get hurt. Despite our hero's best efforts to get himself fired as investigator, he and his bride find themselves trapped at the heart of an increasingly treacherous conspiracy involving theft, forgery, buried treasure, and the legacy of Boudica, the Rebel Queen.
NB: This book is also known as Ruso and the River of Darkness.
When Ruso rejoins his unit in the remote outpost of the Roman Empire known as Britannia, he finds that all is not well with the Twentieth Legion. As they keep a suspicious eye on the barbarians to the north, the legionaries appear to have found trouble even closer to home-among the native recruits to Britannia's imperial army.
A young soldier has jumped off a roof, killing himself. Why? Mysterious injuries, and even deaths, begin to pile up in Ruso's medical ledgers, and it soon becomes clear that this suicide is not an isolated incident. Can the men really be under a curse? And what has this to do with the much-decorated Centurion Geminus?
Bound by his sense of duty and compelled by his ill-advised curiosity, Ruso begins to ask questions nobody wants to hear. Meanwhile his barbarian wife, Tilla, starts to find out some of the answers-and is marked as a security risk by the very officers Ruso is interrogating.
With Hadrian's visit looming large, the fates of the legion, Tilla, and Ruso himself hang in the balance.
The medicus Ruso and his wife, Tilla, are back in the borderlands of Britannia, where he is tending the builders of Hadrian's Great Wall. Having been forced to move off their land, the Britons are distinctly on edge and are still smarting from the failure of a recent rebellion that claimed many lives.
The tension grows when Ruso's recently arrived clerk goes missing and things go from bad to worse when the young son of a local family also vanishes. While struggling to keep the peace between the Britons and the Romans, Ruso and Tilla uncover an intricate deception involving slavery and fur trappers, and it becomes imperative that they solve the mystery of the two disappearances before it's too late.
Ruso and Tilla and their new baby daughter have left Roman-occupied Britain--and the military--for Rome at the urging of Ruso's patron, Accius. Their excitement upon arriving is soon dulled by the discovery that the grand facades of polished marble mask an underworld of corrupt landlords and vermin-infested tenements. There are also far too many doctors--some skilled, but others positively dangerous.
Ruso thinks he has been offered a reputable medical practice only to find that his predecessor, Doctor Kleitos, has fled, leaving a dead man in a barrel on the doorstep and the warning, "Be careful who you trust." Distracted by the body and his efforts to help Accius win the hand of a rich young heiress, Ruso makes a grave mistake, causing him to question both his competence and his integrity.
With Ruso's reputation under threat, he and Tilla must protect their small family from Doctor Kleitos's debt collectors and find allies in their new home while they track down the vanished doctor and find out the truth about the unfortunate man in the barrel.
A scandal is threatening to engulf the popular spa town of Aquae Sulis (modern-day Bath). The wife of Ruso's best friend, Valens, has been found dead in the sacred hot spring, stabbed through the heart. Fearing the wrath of the goddess and the ruin of the tourist trade, the temple officials are keen to cover up what's happened. But the dead woman's father is demanding justice, and he's accusing Valens of murder.
If Valens turns up to face trial, he will risk execution. If he doesn't, he'll lose his children.
It's AD 123 and the sun is shining on southern Gaul. Ex-military medic Ruso and his British wife Tilla are back after a long absence - but it's not the reunion anyone had hoped for.
Ruso's brother has left him in charge of a farm he has no idea how to manage, a chronic debt problem and a gaggle of accident-prone small children. Meanwhile his sister Flora has run away to rescue her boyfriend, who's accused of murdering a wealthy guest at a party.
Can Ruso and Tilla save the boyfriend from the murder charge - or should they be saving Flora from the boyfriend? Will any of the guests tell the truth about the fatal party before it's too late? And meanwhile, how long can Ruso continue to lie about what's inside the bath house?
A short story of love and danger on the empire's most hostile frontier.
Senna, a native Briton married to a Roman auxiliary, accidentally uncovers a dreadful plan by the rebellious northern Maeatae tribe. Her husband Brigius, a Briton who now serves Rome, is torn when the imperial prince Caracalla arrives in northern Britannia with his unit of vicious, dangerous Numidian cavalry, causing trouble and endangering the couple's once peaceful life.
Heedless of the danger to both them and their world, the pair see only one way to ensure the continuation of peace in the north, and it carries a horrifying risk.