- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (October 30, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780374456733
- ISBN-13: 978-0374456733
- ASIN: 0374456739
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #880,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Outcast Paperback – October 30, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
A Roman boy is brought up by a British tribe and forced to make his way in a hostile climate in this epic yarn set in Roman Britain. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1995 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
“How Beric survived...is not only incredible but gripping, convincing fiction.” ―The Horn Book
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Showing 1-5 of 28 reviews
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Rosemary Sutcliff is an excellent writer. I am always taken by her phraseology, and her detailed and colorful descriptions of the world around her characters. One small historical inaccuracy—Romans generally didn’t use chained slaves to row their military galleys in this time period (probably sometime in late antiquity between 50-400 CE). Chained slaves weren’t used to any great extent in the west until late in the Middle Ages. Romans used a special class of sailor or marine who, if needed, could drop his oar, pick up a spear or pike and fight the enemy.
The novel is probably most appropriate to young adults, although seniors will also enjoy it. The description of treatment of galley slaves can be brutal—but probably not too graphic for a young adult. The first half or more of the story moved right along. There was no bloody violence. I was disappointed by the last one quarter of the book. In my opinion the author could easily have shortened the text in which the hero has a catharsis. But I’m a guy and prefer action over emotion.
I give the novel a rating of three for two reasons. First, Romans didn’t use galley slaves in the way they are portrayed in this novel. Most readers will be more familiar with Ben Hur and will overlook that small inaccuracy. My major problem was with the slowness of the last part of the novel. I had a hard time getting through that portion of the novel.
"THE OUTCAST" is the mesmerizing, totally involving story of Beric, who, as an infant, was the only survivor of a Roman shipwreck. He is adopted into a primitive British tribe, despite the warnings of some of the members of that tribe that adopting an "outsider" will do the tribe no good. Beric, happy and secure in his place in the tribe, reachers his teen-age years -- but bad things begin to befall the tribe, and Beric -- whose origins have never been forgotten -- is blamed for these occurences. His friends turn against him, and he is....cast out.
Astonished, hurt, and alone, Beric starts out. He winds up -- as might be expected of a penniless wanderer in Roman times -- as a house-slave. Things get worse, however, and he is soon made a galley-slave. The conditions of degradation of galley slaves were never more completely and horrifically described -- except, perhaps, in the original "Ben-Hur", with which tge sadly lesser-known Ms. Sutcliff's descriptions, are on a total par. Missing from "Ben Hur", however, is any semblance of the description of Beric's oar-mate in "THE OUTCAST". It is a sensitive description of a sensiitive, and doomed young artist, and the story of how this young artist was sent to the galleys is a story-within-a-story, which could have been the basis for another novel, all by itself. Beric's story -- and that of his oar-mate -- are tales that never leave one's consciousness, (or at least, they have not left mine), once one reads them.
An epic drama, so very, very well told. I loved this story as a young girl, and still love it today. It is to Ms. Sutcliff's credit that, as a young girl, I naturally preferred my historical novels to have a heroINE as the main character.
But "THE OUTCAST" is irresistable in its telling and in its story. It is the ONLY book that, as a budding-feminist-without-knowing-it, I still immensely enjoyed -- even though the main protagonist was a teen-age boy, and not a teen-age girl!
The ONLY reason this book may be categorized as a "young adult" novel is that the protagonist IS a teen-ager. But it is an involving, satisfying read for ALL ages, and both genders -- from precocious pre-teen, to those of the age of centenarian plus! This is a book with strong and sometimes painful scenes -- but it is still one of the most satisfying books I have ever read.
A classic of the highest order, for all time, and one that should be far better known. As with most of the historical novels I have read, I imagine that "THE OUTCAST" would make one heck of an outstanding motion picture!
Much of Outcast was good. It dragged on occasion, however. I recommend it for those interested in the time period.