Book Review: Ruso and the Root of all Evils by R.S. Downie

Ruso and the Root of all Evils is the third book in this Roman mystery series by R.S.Downie.

Summary (from Goodreads)

At long last, Gaius Petreius Ruso and his companion, Tilla, are headed home—to Gaul. Having received a note consisting only of the words “COME HOME!” Ruso has (reluctantly, of course) pulled up stakes and brought Tilla to meet his family.

But the reception there is not what Ruso has hoped for: no one will admit to sending for him, and his brother Lucius is hoping he’ll leave. With Tilla getting icy greetings from his relatives, Lucius’s brother-in-law mysteriously drowned at sea, and the whole Ruso family 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…

Engrossing, intricate, and—as always—wonderfully comic, Ruth Downie’s latest is a brilliant new instalment in this irresistible series. This is everything we’ve come to expect from our charming, luckless hero.

Favourite Quote

“Anyway,” continued Cass, “I can’t pray to Christos.  You’ll have to do it.  You’re not married.”

“Does that matter?”

“Christos’ followers are supposed to obey their husbands.”


This book was enjoyable to read and well-written, full of engaging characters and entertaining storylines.  My favourite character has to be Tilla.  She is simply fantastic: brave, unrepentant, compassionate, and independent. And poor Ruso – he has so much to put up with, and things just keep getting worse for him.

I guessed the culprit but not the ending.  Indeed, towards the latter part of the book, I was driven to keep reading by a need to find out just how the story would conclude.

I liked the author’s style of writing; fairly short chapters that mostly end with a new twist or turn in the plot.  This gave the story a good pace and instilled in me an insatiable desire to read just one more chapter, then another, then another…more or less until I finished the book.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy their historical fiction set in the ancient Roman world, and, if you love Lindsey Davis’ Falco series, I think you will love this one too.


4 thoughts on “Book Review: Ruso and the Root of all Evils by R.S. Downie

  1. Pingback: Bookish Reflections – August and September 2017 | Sammi Loves Books

  2. I’m curious, how do you keep track of your favorite quote? If I tried that, I think I would just keep marking quote upon quote until my book was a porcupine of post-it notes. And then how do you choose? Maybe this is odd, but that seems like it would be the hardest part of writing a review like this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not too bad at this part, usually, though there are some books where I have struggled to find an obvious favourite because there are too many. When this happens, I don’t mark any and then once I’ve finished I flick through the book until I find a single one I like (this method though is unnecessarily labour-intensive, and even harder to do when it’s an ebook – thankfully I don’t tend to read too many of those). I try to note between three and five quotes / short passages and then choose the one that doesn’t give too much of the storyline away. For “Ruso and the Root of all Evil”, I found plenty of “quotables”, but one would have revealed who did it and the others needed more context than the quote contained to make it interesting or funny, so I went with the one included in the review.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The flipping back to find the quotes sounds incredibly labor intensive, I can only imagine! I’d end up reading half the book all over again. And I hadn’t even thought about the problem of quotes that are excellent in context, but give away too much or need more background to be understood. You really have your work cut out for you!

        Liked by 1 person

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