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122 of 123 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE HONOR OF AN EAGLE
Rosemary Sutcliff is expert at recreating ancient civilizations, so this novel comes as no surprise. In her SUN HORSE, MOON HORSE the native tribes are the heroes, pursued by invading Romans. In this novel it is the Romans who are the protagonists, with the tribesmen mostly the enemy. Set in Roman Britain in the early AD's, this book recounts a personal quest by...
Published on December 23, 1998 by Plume45

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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone, but the patient shall be rewarded
'Eagle of the Ninth' is the first in a bestselling series concerning ancient Rome by Rosemary Sutcliff, the famous and award-winning author of many historial novels and re-tellings of ancient myths.
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...
Published on January 27, 2003 by R. M. Fisher


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122 of 123 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE HONOR OF AN EAGLE, December 23, 1998
This review is from: The Eagle of the Ninth (Paperback)
Rosemary Sutcliff is expert at recreating ancient civilizations, so this novel comes as no surprise. In her SUN HORSE, MOON HORSE the native tribes are the heroes, pursued by invading Romans. In this novel it is the Romans who are the protagonists, with the tribesmen mostly the enemy. Set in Roman Britain in the early AD's, this book recounts a personal quest by Centurion Marcus Drusillus Aquila, lamed in a fierce battle. He and his faithful former slave, Esca, undertake a perilous mission beyond the safety of Hadrian's Wall--erected to keep the Highland barbarians at bay
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.
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75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone, but the patient shall be rewarded, January 27, 2003
By 
R. M. Fisher "Ravenya" (New Zealand = Middle Earth!) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Eagle of the Ninth (Paperback)
'Eagle of the Ninth' is the first in a bestselling series concerning ancient Rome by Rosemary Sutcliff, the famous and award-winning author of many historial novels and re-tellings of ancient myths.
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.
The two cross into dangerous territory, first disguised as a medicene man and his spear-bearer, and then as fugitives as they hurry back towards the Wall. Although the long first chapters that relay Marcus's first command and leg injury are rather long and probably unnessarsary (the quest doesn't actually begins until chapter eleven), those that hang in there will be rewarded with a nail-biting theft of the Eagle and a riveting final chase to safety.
Sutcliff creates a sympathetic character in Marcus, readers of this day and age will nod in approval at his treatment of his 'slave' Esca, but he has a touch of arrogance that will make scholars of Roman History smile. Backing up this protagonist is the fascinating character of Esca, who is often identified with the wild wolf that Marcus raises as a tame animal, Marcus's jovial uncle Aquila, and the frustrated 'girl-next-door' Cottia. All are interesting and genuine people, and all their relationships are handled well - there is no sappy romance, easy friendships or mushy uncle/nephew bond here; it is, to put it simply: real.
Like all her books, Sutcliff's writing is infused with potent imagery (the olive wood bird, the Celtic shield and 'Roman' dagger, and the Eagle itself) and poetic language that is blissful to read. Sutcliff had a gift in provoking images of landscape and imagery, and again she never distances the reader from the characters even when teaching them something about history - I was especially interested by the Feast of Spears in chapter fourteen. She juggles melancoly and despair perfectly with hope and renewal, and anyone who does make it through those first few chapters (which unfortunatly really do bring the rating down) might find themselves enjoying this unique story.
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71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rome the triumphant!, June 22, 2004
By 
S. Lewis (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Eagle of the Ninth (Paperback)
Sutcliff has to be one of the most consummately skilled authors in this genre, both for style and characterization. Her sense of time and place is wonderful, and she manages to powerfully evoke our interest in her character's struggles and triumphs. As another reviewer noted, Sutcliff's people are real, not some silly pasteboard stereotypes of modernity, flicked back about 1500 years.
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
Sword Song
Warrior Scarlet
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books ever!!!, August 28, 2003
A Kid's Review
This review is from: The Eagle of the Ninth (Paperback)
I think Rosemary Suttliff is one of the greatest authors ever and The Eagle of the Ninth is one of my favorites of her books (I love all of them). It is almost impossible to get good historical fiction and Suttcliff is one of the few great authors in tha genre. I really care about the characters in this book. I can really identify with Marcus's feelings. Esca is extemely interesting, and Cottia is not the typical female back-up. As you read this book you will believe that the characters are real. Suttcliff really understands how human beings think and act. That sounds really stupid but it's true. Suttcliff cannot only do good character development, she can also do good descriptions that create a picture of the scene in your mind without becoming tedious. If you only read one new book, make it this one.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A moving adventure tale set in Roman Britain, October 10, 2005
By 
Ramesh Gopal (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Eagle of the Ninth (Paperback)
The Eagle of the Ninth is a moving adventure tale set in Roman Britain of the 2nd century AD. The straightforward, uncomplicated story was probably intended for children and certainly for young adults. Nevertheless, adults of all ages will find in it much to enjoy. The characterization of life in early Britain is quite convincing. Rome and the Senate are but a distant echo. Here we live the provincial life of a barely pacified country. A young Roman centurion recently injured in battle and so unable to serve in the legions, sets out to find the lost "eagle" (i.e. battle standard) of his father's legion. That legion, the Ninth Hispana, along with his father, had disappeared twelve years previously in Caledonia (the north of modern Scotland). In the course of many adventures the hero will learn of his father's fate. Interestingly, the book reminds me of the works of Rudyard Kipling dealing with the Indian subcontinent. Ironically, instead of English colonizers living among "noble savages", the shoe is on the other foot, and colonial Romans live among the barbarian tribes of Britain. Anyone with an inclination towards historical fiction will enjoy this moving adventure story. Commentators have pointed out that this is probably an apt description of how the British national identity was forged over the centuries.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "It has been good hunting, brother.", December 25, 2004
By 
This review is from: The Eagle of the Ninth (Paperback)
Rosemary Sutcliff is one of those authors whose books I can pick up and know they will be satisfying.

The Eagle of the Ninth does not fail to meet that rather strict expectation. It is a rip-roaring ride that follows a young Roman named Marcus and his good friend, Esca, through the wastes of Northern England and Scotland.

Marcus' purpose for this journey is the recovery of the lost eagle of the Ninth Legion--his father's legion. The Ninth Legion marched into the mists of the North some twelve years before Marcus set out, and never returned. Some time later, rumor reaches the Roman provinces that a Roman eagle was in the hands of the northern tribesmen, and Marcus determines to go and find it.

High adventure follows.

I have been a Sutcliff fan for years, and the Eagle of the Ninth certainly makes a place for itself among the ranks of her other works as a masterful work of fiction about the Roman era. If you buy this book, you can safely say with Marcus and Esca, the two protagonists, that "It has been good hunting, brother."
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book with a bad start, August 11, 2002
A Kid's Review
This review is from: The Eagle of the Ninth (Paperback)
This is a great book. It has detailed discriptions of roman provinces, plus an excellent plot. But the start was unbelivably boring. In fact the worst ten pages I have ever read were the first ten pages of that book! The rest was an excellent, you-can't-put-it-down book. It is undoubtedly one of the greatest adventure stories of our time, based on a real event. In 117 A.D., the ninth Roman legion went north to deal with a rising in one of the Celtic tribes and never came back. The story is about the commander's son who goes out to look for his father's lost legion. Their search leads them on an epic journey to restore the legion's honor.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you want to fire the imagination of your child...., September 12, 2004
This review is from: The Eagle of the Ninth (Paperback)
Read Rosemary Sutcliff to your children 8-10 or encourage your 10-14 year old. Try the first four or five sentences of any of her books together and see what images she conjures in your minds' eyes. She imparts so much color and action, once a child is able to get into these books either listening or on their own, there is no storyline closed to them. These books require thinking and reward the reader with an experience that lasts a lifetime. Do read them, especially if you have kids.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Roman soldier's search for his father's lost legion., May 28, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: The Eagle of the Ninth (Paperback)
Captivating story of a young Roman soldier's search to find the Eagle and the fate of his father's lost legion, the Ninth Hispania. This was the first historical novel I ever read and it started my passion for Roman history that continues to this day. The fate of the Ninth Hispania has always been a mystery to Roman historians. Rosemary Sutcliff personalizes the story of how this legion may have met it's end and how a young man's love for his father drives him to search beyond the known limits of Rome to find the truth. One of the best books of a truly outstanding author. Intended for young readers it will be enjoyed by adults as well.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest literary works of our time., June 2, 2002
A Kid's Review
This review is from: The Eagle of the Ninth (Paperback)
Rosemary Sutcliff has yet again created an astonishingly riveting piece of work. The lively yarn is consistantly tightly woven throughout the book, without a dull moment. The story tells of Marcus Aquila - past cohort centurian of the Second Legion until he is injured severely - with his friend and freed body slave, Esca, and how they have a quest ahead of them to recover the Eagle Of The Ninth (the symbol of the Ninth Legion)from tribes beyond Hadrians Wall. The quickly - moving pace is maintained with the maximum of effect. Consequently I believe The Eagle Of The Ninth to be one of the greatest literary works of our time.
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The Eagle of the Ninth (The Roman Britain Trilogy Book One)
The Eagle of the Ninth (The Roman Britain Trilogy Book One) by Rosemary Sutcliff (Paperback - November 9, 2010)
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