November 6, 2014

…and thank you for visiting.

I’m the author of a series of mysteries featuring Roman Army medic and reluctant sleuth, Gaius Petreius Ruso. His sixth adventure, TABULA RASA, is out now – if you glance to the right you’ll see the cover.

Here’s what’s inside:

Ruso and his wife, Tilla, are back in the borderlands of Britannia, tending the builders of Hadrian’s Great Wall. The local Britons are still smarting from the failure of a recent rebellion and now, having been forced to move off their land, they are distinctly on edge.

Then Ruso’s incompetent clerk, Candidus, goes missing, and soldiers ransack the nearby farms looking for him.  When a local boy also vanishes, tensions between the Britons and the Romans threaten to erupt into fresh violence.  

To find out more about the rest of the books – including why the early stories all have two titles – click here. Events are listed on this page, but if we can’t meet in person, you can always contact me here. This is where you can find out that an author’s life is not as exciting as that of her characters, and below are the latest musings on the blog.

Want to hear a different voice? Meet my guests,  Vicki León , Sarah Bower,   Jane Finnis and Caroline Davies, or follow the links at the foot of the August 2013 Blog Hop article to see what fascinates other authors about the Romans.


A day of DIY

November 7, 2014

It would have been wiser not to start redesigning the blog when I’m supposed to be working on Book 7. But the layout here was looking a bit tired and it seemed like a simple enough job: just cut my name from the new book cover and paste it in at the top of the screen. How hard could that be?

I should have remembered the time Husband and I decided that plastering didn’t look all that difficult, either.

Nine hours later, I’m now going to try and put back the picture that was up there in the first place. It still doesn’t go with the new book covers, but I really would like to go to bed.  And in the morning I think I might be phoning a friend. Sometimes it really is best to leave things to people who know what they’re doing.


The pleasure of being a guest

October 27, 2014

I’ve had the pleasure of being a guest twice this week – first on a virtual trip across to Alison Morton’s blog, where I was sharing a few mental meanderings about historical truth and donkey poo.  Alison is the author of the Roma Nova series, set in a world where the Roman Empire hasn’t fallen – so ‘historical truth’ is an interesting issue.

Then, while practially every other writer of historical fiction in the entire universe was at Harrogate (again, Alison’s blog will give you the low-down) I had the privilege of joining a group of visitors from the US on a visit to Hadrian’s Wall. Just as we were turning to leave Sewingshields (near Vindolanda) the sun came out, the rain began, and magic happened.


.Rainbow over cliffs at Hadrians Wall


Tabula Rasa UK – out on 23rd October!

October 6, 2014

The fine folk at Bloomsbury UK have almost finished doing the mysterious things that publishers do, and I’m delighted to say that TABULA RASA, the sixth Medicus tale, should be available here from 23rd October. That’s print and ebook: I’ll put up more info about the audio when I have it.

You can find out more about the story here.

I’m not sure a photo of a grinning (and rather hot) author clutching a book cover will encourage anyone to rush out and read it, but I went a long way for this picture and I’m blowed if I’m going to waste it:

Ruth holding copy of Tabula Rasa in Ostia

Above: writer of book set in a wet autumn on Hadrian’s Wall inexplicably chooses to publicise it with a summer photo from Ostia.

Did I mention that it’ll be on sale in the UK and Ireland on 23rd October?


England’s Westernmost Roman Town (so far).

July 20, 2014

Had a grand day out today visiting what the BBC says is “England’s westernmost Roman town“. Exeter University are running a 4-week dig there at the moment. I’m not sure they’ve actually dug up any buildings yet (tho’ there are some round houses showing on the geophys) but they do have a lovely stretch of Roman road, Devon-style, and plenty of evidence that “Roman” fashions had caught on here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis was probably a child’s bracelet. There are a few more photos over at the Facebook page . The project’s official page is here.

(And where, I hear you ask, is this town? It is, or rather was, just outside the village of Ipplepen, near Newton Abbot. That’s near Exeter, which I assume was itself England’s westernmost Roman town until this one turned up.)



July 1, 2014

The good folks at Bloomsbury USA tell me that “Persona non Grata“, Ruso and Tilla’s third adventure, is a Kindle deal on Amazon.com for the whole of July. Apparently you can take an imaginary trip to Roman Gaul for only $1.99!*

Sadly friends this side of the pond can’t access it, but as “Ruso and the Root of All Evils” the same book is available to borrow via your local library for even less. Or you could go wild and buy it!

*  LATER – please check before you click: we can’t see the US prices from here and I’m told that it has also appeared at $3.99… ebook pricing is, as we all know, governed by the new moon and the wind in the east…



Judging a blog by its cover

June 12, 2014

The nice people at the publishers have decided that it’s time to redesign the covers for the Medicus series,  so we’ll be raising the tone with a little classical sculpture. TABULA RASA has a view of The Weary Hercules – I’m sure that’s exactly how Ruso sees himself at times – clutching the golden apples of the Hesperides.

This is the sort of reference that cheers authors enormously because those same apples are mentioned briefly in the book.  It’s always flattering to think that the person who designs the covers has taken the time to read what’s inside them. (You might think this is a pre-requisite, but you’d be surprised – look what someone did to Henry James. And surely that’s not even a screw, but a nut?)

I’m not sure the actual cover is as bright as the picture here, which I have to admit clashes with the header of the blog. This may leave you wondering what right I have to be sarcastic about other people’s design choices. Meanwhile, let’s move on to the rather lovely new cover for the paperback edition of SEMPER FIDELIS:

Cover of Semper Fidelis paperback

Both of these should be available in the US and Canada in August, and in Britain in October.


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