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The Eagle of the Ninth (The Roman Britain Trilogy Book One) Paperback – November 9, 2010
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“Sutcliff has a genius for the re-creation of an historical period.” ―Horn Book Reflections
“An unusual blend of stirring action and poetic symbolism. Authentic in background, skillful in plot, and perceptive in characterization.” ―Booklist
“Imaginatively conceived.” ―The New Yorker
“Decades later, I can still hear echoes of The Eagle of the Ninth in my head: the chink of mail, the tired beat of the legionaries' feet.” ―The Independent
“What a splendid story it is, compulsive reading!” ―Junior Bookshelf
About the Author
Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-1992) wrote dozens of books for young readers, including her award-winning Roman Britain trilogy, The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, and The Lantern Bearers, which won the Carnegie Medal. The Eagle of the Ninth is now a major motion picture, The Eagle, directed by Kevin MacDonald and starring Channing Tatum. Born in Surrey, Sutcliff spent her childhood in Malta and on various other naval bases where her father was stationed. At a young age, she contracted Still's Disease, which confined her to a wheelchair for most of her life. Shortly before her death, she was named Commander of the British Empire (CBE) one of Britain's most prestigious honors. She died in West Sussex, England, in 1992.
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Top Customer Reviews
Tortured by harsh rumors that the lost Ninth Legion turned feral and betrayed the Roman principles of Trust and Honor, young Marcus is grimly determined to prove the gossip false and restore the Honor of his father's old legion. No one knows the fate of the men who marched off into the mists of what will be known as Scotland in subsequent centuries. But without the actual Eagle which repreents that legion, there can be no Honor--more sacred to Romans than life itself. Thus Marcus vows to recover the lost eagle for Rome, so that the men of the Ninth may rest easy and that the Painted People may not use it as a psychological weapon against Rome.
This novel is quite long for YA status, but is enjoyable to read. Sutcliff presents a mystery which spans the dim prehistory of Britain and historically documented Latin times. The plot is interesting, while the style captures the flavor and language of the Anglo-Roman era. The reader will pick up some Roman history and clues about their lifestyle just by reading for pleasure. The book is truly worthwhile, though I recommend the stark chiller, SUN HORSE, MOON HORSE, as an introduction to the tribal life. Very good story in setting that is both literary and historically accurate. Based on archaeological findings.
The plot is tight, avoiding unnecessary haste (which helps to give a sense of reality, as well), but not degenerating into a slough of wasted pages devoted to trivialities. Sutcliff's keen sense of location is a delightful aspect of the story--- one feels that she was intimately acquainted with Great Britain's wilds, and loved them for what they are and were: solemn, unfathomable, and full of mystery.
An obvious scholar of Celtic and Roman traditions and culture, Sutcliff manages to subtly impart a great deal of information without lapsing into "textbookishness"--- that alone is no mean feat! Readers will find that there horizons have been broadened after diving into her books.
Sadly, most of her best fiction is out of print, but here are some titles of her most enjoyable stories-you might want to check the libraries:
Mark of the Horse Lord
The Eagle of the Ninth
The Silver Branch
The Lantern Bearers
In the prolouge of this novel Sutcliff tells her inspiration for this novel - the mysterious disappearence of the Ninth Legion who marched north to deal with the Caledonian tribes in 117 AD and were never heard of again, and the remains of a wingless Roman Eagle that was uncovered in modern times at an excavation at Silchester. The Eagles of Roman Legions were of uptmost importance to the soldiers within them, as the eagle symbolised their strength, their union and Rome itself. In the wrong hands it could spell disgrace or loss of moral should it ever be marched against Rome. For this reason Romans went to great lengths to protect the Eagle, even at the cost of their lives, and often an 'eagle-bearer' would march with the troops in order to protect and care for the precious token.
"The hunting ground is a wide one, and who knows into what strange covers the hunt may led us."
So says Centurion Marcus Flavius Aquila and his freed slave Esca at the start of their journey. Marcus's father was the leader of the Ninth Legion, and Marcus takes up the chance to find out exactly what did happen to him and the lost Ninth Legion that he had led, by crossing the safety of the Hadrian Wall and following the rumours of a Celtic tribe said to hold a strange Roman artefact of war. Wounded in battle and so stripped of his dream to become a First Cohort like his father, Marcus applies himself fully to restoring the honour of his father's Legion and prevent the Eagle from becoming a weapon of propaganda.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is both more and less than the movie "The Eagle" which I have watched many times. It is more because the color is richer and the detail is almost overwhelming. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Dr. Chuck
Better than the movies, which took a lot of liberties (confession: I liked the movie anyway!). Rosemary Sutcliff is a historical fiction write of the stature or Mary Renault, and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Nathaniel R. Brown
This is one of the best books I've read in ages! That's surprising, since this is an action/adventure book, and usually I snooze through those. But R. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Quinn Thornton
Without expanding, this is not a book--it's poetry. And it captures moods and attitudes without parallel.Published 2 months ago by Charles A. Krohn
One of my all time favorite books -- I've been re-reading it regularly since I was a pre-teen.Published 4 months ago by amazonian
Great book! My daughter is loving this trilogy. Recommend to anyone who has an inkling for Roman-Britain stories.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer