• Memento Mori

  • Roman Empire Series, Book 8
  • By: Ruth Downie
  • Narrated by: Simon Vance
  • Series: The Roman Empire, Book 8
  • Length: 10 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 06-03-18
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.6 (43 ratings)

Summary

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.
Ruso and Tilla do their best to help, but it's difficult to get anyone - even Valens himself - to reveal what really happened. Could Ruso's friend really be guilty as charged?
©2018 Ruth Downie (P)2018 Tantor
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Mary Carnegie on 14-04-18

The odd couple in Bath

Well narrated by Simon Vance. Mystery sustained throughout. The setting in Aquae Sulis takes note of recent archeological finds and scholarship but provides clarification in a postscript between imagination and history (which evolves over centuries, anyway). I know Bath quite well (my daughter was at uni there) and although the remaining Roman structures, including the baths, are substantial, they are generally overlaid by Georgian and Victorian developments, obscuring our view of this Romano-British tourist resort, long before the arrival of the various Germanic tribes who became the English.
I think Simon Vance made good decisions about accents - the upper class Roman citizens, second or third generation from long pacified provinces (like southern Gaul) probably did speak Latin approximately similar to the ruling class of Rome, but evidence even from Bath itself (those wonderful curses) indicates a British Vulgar Latin; vulgar in this sense is no insult, it’s the spoken language, which evolved into French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian etc. Be grateful agreeing pluperfect subjunctives has gone out of fashion. It seems reasonable to me to differentiate native Britons using accents of their descendants and/or tribal homelands. The Vindolanda tablets and other discoveries of my lifetime tell just how multi-ethnic was the Roman province of Britannia, as was the Roman Empire throughout- Koiné Greek was still important, and Greek the language of civil servants in Rome, and scholarship (Ruso and Valens use it, as doctors, to communicate without being understood, and Ruso’s medical texts are in Greek - of course - so Tilla, now literate in Latin, cannot consult them in his absence.
Technical aspects apart, I like this odd couple, who come from different worlds, from different “wisdoms”, one “rational” and practical, the other “intuitive” and eclectically spiritual, but who have learned each other’s language. Not too bad for the occupying colonist from a colony, in the less than prestigious profession of doctor, and the aristocratic ex-slave from a small, but utterly bloody-minded clan of a big tribe.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Derek Croucher on 29-03-18

Keeps you guessing right to the very end.

Ruth Downie once again has produced a highly entertaining whodunnit set within the beautifully recreated world of Roman Britain. Twisting plots and light, dry humour go to make a fun novel. All set against the interplay of Russo and Tillas’ less than conventional marriage. Simon Vance reads brilliantly.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Paula A. Rossi on 15-04-18

Another great outing! Can't wait for the next one

What did you love best about Memento Mori?

The setting of Ruth Downie's book. You actually feel like you are living in that time. Oh and the humor in the book is just as great as the setting.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tilla is my favorite character. She is a strong woman who knows how to successfully navigate various situations. She does not let what others think affect what she knows is right. Of course all of the characters are like old friends.

Which scene was your favorite?

I don't really have a specific scene. I enjoyed the entire book.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

This book made me laugh at times. It is a serious mystery that does not take itself seriously.

Any additional comments?

I always look forward to the Medicus books by Ruth Downie. I buy her audiobooks the day they come out and I listen to it right away, even if I'm in the middle of another audiobook. The characters are like old friends. I love finding out what they have been doing and I feel like I know them The mysteries are just complicated enough to keep you interested and red herrings abound! And of course Simon Vance is one of the greatest narrators Audible has. He could read a phone book and I would listen to it. I would suggest starting at the beginning of the series. You will not want to miss a minutes of Russo, Tilla and their friends.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Christian Bonnell on 19-03-18

Amazing author, amazing reader

Ruth Downie is a master storyteller, and Simon Vance is the perfect narrator to capture the longsuffering grumbling of Gaius Patreus Ruso. I have listened tha o the whole series, and am eagerly awaiting the next one!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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