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The Eagle (The Roman Britain Trilogy) Paperback – January 4, 2011
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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
Today, my 21-year-old son is an avid reader with a broad range of interests. These days, I take reading recommendations from HIM.
I was very pleased to see that this historic novel has been reissued in a beautiful hardcover edition, complete with illustrations and an attached ribbon marker.
The story is a straight-forward adventure involving young Roman officer Marcus, his slave Esca, and a wolf. It takes place in 2nd Century Britain and is based on a true story. This is the first in a series, and it was made into a movie starring Channing Tatum ("The Eagle").
Sutcliffe did her homework and the novel makes the ancient world come alive.
This book belongs on every child's shelf, and your son or daughter will be able to appreciate this particular edition for many years, long enough to pass on to the next generation.
The story itself is an often recommended fictional history based on the Roman occupation of Britain, particularly a true mystery and an artifact unearthed in more recent excavation. The writing is descriptive and the plot interesting. It is probably above the level of most eight year olds in current society, but read aloud with some explanation it is still written well enough to hold the attention of that age group. Probably better individual reading for the typical thirteen and up reader.
Through this story the reader can really see the misty, rainy region of Britain; feel the uncertain peace and ambiguous relationship between the Roman conquerors and the subdued (and not so subdued) tribes of Britain. The reader can understand both sides of the conflict and see into both societies. It is a great book to bring history alive. I particularly appreciate this author for her focus on British history that often is looked over.
I was very pleased with The Eagle of the Ninth; so pleased, in fact, that I have ordered the next three books in the series. There are many elements of The Eagle that are indicative of the fact it was written for a young adult audience: the simplicity of the plot; the non-complexity of the characters and their interactions; the relative shortness of the book (200 pages); the focus on a young man and his friendships, as well as his quest to find out the truth behind his father's death and the disappearance of his Legion.
But while The Eagle of the Ninth is focused on themes aimed at a younger audience, the author's style is one that will captivate readers of all ages. The focus and tone of the novel should appeal equally to men and women. Her descriptions are lovely and evocative and her language is sophisticated. I recommend keeping a dictionary at hand, as she uses many words and phrases that are unfamiliar to modern readers (or to this reader, anyway). While the meanings of most of them can be approximately determined from the context, if you're a word nerd like me you're probably going to want to look them up.
The Eagle of the Ninth is a simple story that is well-written and pleasing. I, for one, am hooked and look forward to reading many more books by this author.