Review: Persona Non Grata

Persona Non Grata (published in the UK and Australia as Ruso and the Root of All Evils)
Ruth Downie
Bloomsbury, 2010 (2009)
9781608190478
Giveaway from Goodreads’ First Reads

“Is it true someone’s trying to bankrupt us?”

Lucius leaned back in their father’s chair and folded his arms. “If I were to say no,” he said, “and ask you to go straight back to Deva for the good of the family, would you do it?”

“I can’t,” Ruso pointed out. “I had to wangle months of leave to get here.”

“So you can’t go back to the Legion.” Lucius managed to look even more depressed.

“Arria says somebody’s applied for a seizure order.”

Lucius let out a long breath. “There’s a law somewhere,” he said, “that says you can’t take out a seizure order against someone who’s away from home on public service.”

Ruso began to grasp the nature of the problem. “Does that apply to an ordinary man in the army?”

“The last thing I would have done, brother, was to ask you to come home.”

“So it’s true then? We have a legal problem?”

“We do now,” said Lucius.

In Persona Non Grata, the third in Ruth Downie’s Medicus series set in second-century Roman Britannia, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his British companion Tilla (also known as Darlughdacha of the Corionotatae among the Brigantes) travel to southern Gaul, summoned by an ominous letter that says only, “Lucius to Gaius. Come home, brother.” As their father’s heir and effective (if not necessarily effectual) paterfamilias, Ruso has known for some time of his family’s precarious financial situation, legacy of the massive debts their father incurred during his second marriage. Fearing the worst, Ruso arranges leave from his duties as surgeon to the XX Legion and hurries home.

Continue reading

Review: Then Came the Evening

This review was first posted on Goodreads.

Then Came the Evening
Brian Hart
St. Martin’s Press, December 2009
9781608190140
ARC from Goodreads‘ First Reads giveaway

Sleep would not come easy this time and he knew it as soon as he blinked and opened his eyes and there was no difference between the two. He began and suffered through an inventory of the reasons why he should leave and why he shouldn’t be allowed to be out at all. He wondered if regret would ever relax its hold on him. It doesn’t have to be that way, he told himself. Sleep and tomorrow you can be a new man, a free man.

Over the course of a single night, Bandy Dorner loses everything: his home, his pregnant wife, and, after gunning down a cop in a drunken rage, his freedom. Twenty years later, Bandy’s given the opportunity to start over from scratch.

Continue reading