- Series: The Roman Britain Trilogy (Book 2)
- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); Reprint edition (September 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0374466483
- ISBN-13: 978-0374466480
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 38 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,706,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Silver Branch (The Roman Britain Trilogy) Paperback – September 1, 1993
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About the Author
Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-1992) was born in Surrey, England. A voracious private reader, she left her regular studies at fourteen to attend art school. In 1950 her first children's book was published, and from then on, she devoted her time and talents to writing children's historical novels. Many of her books are set in Roman Britain, a period that particularly interested her. She received the OBE in 1975 and, in 1992, was awarded the CBE. She was still writing on the morning of her death at the age of seventy-two.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
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If I wasn’t pre-reading this series for my son to read next year in school, I would not have read The Silver Branch after reading the first book in the series. This would have been a mistake. The Silver Branch was so much better and more enjoyable. I recommend this book to anyone interested in history (it’s not totally necessary to read the first book first).
In what follows the cousins find themselves caught up in the messy politics of divided loyalties as the people who live in Britain put up a fierce resistance against the Saxon invaders.
If one could fault Rosemary Sutcliff's writing craft, it would be to say that her characters are not very emotional, and that large things happen via small reactions. Which, of course, is very British. Or at least the way the British were famously so in the 19th and 20th centuries. But were the Romans like that? Or the Painted People? I somehow doubt it. While there is no doubt that some people are unemotional, I would say that the relative majority express their emotions quite vividly. And this is something that Ms. Sutcliff just fails to capture.
In THE SILVER BRANCH, which centers around the friendship of two young men, the emotions are muted as before. But in this context that seems to work. I think it worked less well between Marcus and his fiancee Cottia in THE EAGLE and between Aquila and his wife Ness in THE LANTERN BEARERS. I thought those scenes between a man and a woman whose lives are so closely bound together should have and could have been a whole lot more passionate. Especially as the women were both strong-willed and opinionated. Four stars.
Sutcliff's books were originally intended for young adults, and there is plenty of evidence of that: the shortness (less than 200 pages) of the book; the straightforwardness of the plot; the lack of complexity in the characters or their relationships with each other; the main theme of friendship and comradeship. However, Sutcliff's style should appeal to adults, as well, particularly those with an interest in this timeframe; her writing exhibits sophistication and skill.
The book tells the story of an actual series of events that took place in the waning years of Roman rule in Britain, and of two young men who get caught up in the political treachery that took place. Sutcliff's description of the countryside, the lifestyle of the people, and the military battles are detailed and vivid. Indeed, the only "flaw" I found in the entire book -- and a weak one at that -- was that I found it highly unlikely that, when the local head of an espionage and smuggling operation on the southern coast of Britain is killed, the mantle of his leadership falls on the two very young and relatively inexperienced main characters, and all the other operatives -- who are much older and experienced -- automatically look to them for leadership. However, I accepted that this book was written for young readers, and so enjoyed the story for the adventurous tale it was intended to be.
I highly recommend Rosemary Sutcliff's books and look forward to reading more of them.
Most recent customer reviews
Two descendants of Marcus from "The Eagle of the Ninth" meet in Britain.Read more