What really works for me is the balancing act between accurate period detail and the extraordinarily vital character development. No amount of adequate historical knowledge can make that happen in my opinion. My very favorite of the several series that are in print about this time and place.
I was happy to meet up with Ruso and his wife Tilla and their baby Mara in Rome. Ruso, Medicus for a Roman Legion and a native of Gaul and Tilla his wife, a former slave from a Northern Celtic tribe in Britain have been given a marvelously rich "give and take" relationship in this series.
They and their comtemporaries are lively, and the dialogue is never flippant or stilted but flows easily. One can easily imagine them in Roman Britain or any other period of time.
So who was the man in the barrel and what might he have had to do with the complicated political landscape Ruso finds himself in there in Rome? Tilla, described as a "magnificent woman" by a colleague of the Medicus from the Roman Legion, is level headed and can roll with the punches even better than those surrounding her.
A favorite line in this book is "The magnificent lady was bearing down on them, carrying the three-toothed daughter who might or might not have called him 'Pa' this morning."
To have a similar reading experience, may I suggest strongly that you purchase the whole series at once ? This 5 Star rated book is now out in kindle. Get your copy.