Semper Fidelis : The Roman Empire

  • by Ruth Downie
  • Narrated by Simon Vance
  • Series: The Roman Empire
  • 9 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Back at his post as a doctor in the 20th legion in Roman-occupied Britain, Ruso uncovers a new danger even closer to home than the neighboring barbarians.
As mysterious injuries, and even deaths, begin to appear in the medical ledgers, it's clear that all is not well amongst the native recruits to Britannia's imperial army. Is the much-decorated centurion Geminus preying on his weaker soldiers? And could this be related to the appearance of Emperor Hadrian?
Bound by his sense of duty and ill-advised curiosity, Ruso begins to ask questions nobody wants to hear. Meanwhile his barbarian wife Tilla is finding 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.

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What the Critics Say

"Downie injects a modern who-done-it twist into the imperial action." (Kirkus)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Good historical detail.

Would you listen to Semper Fidelis again? Why?

Yes, I have listened to it twice because I enjoy listening about Russo struggles again humanity.


What other book might you compare Semper Fidelis to, and why?

The other Russo books.


Which character – as performed by Simon Vance – was your favourite?

It's always Russo but I also enjoyed listening to Valance (spelling?) and his father-in-law.


Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Russo's very grim situation.


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- Debbie Rowe

Ruso, scapegoat and hero

Ruso doesn't know that "no good deed ever goes unpunished"! His family in Gaul blame him for lack of cash, debts he didn't run up, failure to acquire high status and big earnings just to spite them.
He's a good doctor but never going to be a "society" favourite and worst of all he has a British wife - a "native" a "barbarian", who has her own ethical standards and a strong idea of women as independent agents. (This is of course Britannia before the English immigration, tough women who don't sit at home worrying about wrinkles.)
It is enjoyable to have a story which considers the Roman Empire from both sides. Ruso although a citizen is a "not-quite-Roman", being from what is now Southern France, and his wife Darlughdacha - I may not have spelled this as in the written version, but it is a name with many variants in writing, and I don't suppose she could spell it either - (aka Tilla) - is of a less male-dominated civilisation.
It's unusual to have the viewpoint of the occupied presented in any literature about the period of Roman domination of what is now the UK. (Possibly even rarer, given that the Romans left before the English came.) Once in a while Tacitus makes positive comments but generally there are collaborators or savages...
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- Mary Carnegie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-03-2013
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio