Persona Non Grata - Ruth Downie Goodreads freebie (Thanks!) This is the third book in a series about Gaius Ruso. I have not read the others - normally I prefer to read a series in order -- but this one can be read without having read the others.

Gaius Ruso is a medical officer with the Roman Legion serving in Britain when he receives an obscure message ostensibly from his brother, Lucius, demanding that he return to Roma at once. Easier said than done, since the voyage home required more than a month of sea and overland travel. Stranger yet, when he arrives home, his brother denies having sent the message and in fact regrets his arrival since Roman law prohibited seizing the land and property of anyone serving in the army. Lucius had imprudently made some loan and repayment agreements with Serverus who now declares the repayment had never been made and is foreclosing on their property. Ruso, attempts to set things right, but during a meeting with Serverus, the latter falls over dead from poison, claiming "the bitch" has killed him.

Tilla, the barbarian and Ruso's lover, tends to steal the show on occasion, and she is certainly the most interesting character. She appears the more enlightened, hardly the "barbarian," given the Roman predilection for tying people to posts for entertainment and watching wild animals eat them. Nevertheless, we don't see Tilla much -- at least in this book -- in her native surroundings so it's hard to judge.

If I have one complaint, it's that the book did not have enough period detail, something I really like in historical fiction. Many people find it tedious; I do not. On the other hand, little tidbits like, shoving one's feet into "indoor sandals," and "by law, all the household slaves who had been under the same roof as a murdered master should be put to death for failing to save him, even if they could not possibly have helped," and one way to keep a household under control was by executing the relatives. Hmmm, that one has possibilities.