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The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff
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Title:The Eagle of the Ninth
Authors:Rosemary Sutcliff
Info:Puffin Books (2011), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:read2012, military-history-fiction

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The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff (1954)

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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
I read this my freshman year of high school, I think. I totally would have kept the standard as a trophy, especially after all that effort. ( )
  Michael_Rose | Jan 10, 2016 |
"Excellent feelings of being on part of a mighty empire but cut off from help. The terror of travelling ever deeper into enemy lands really grips you and you cling to the shelter and few allies found." ( )
  garethmottram | Oct 27, 2015 |
I thought I'd read this, but no. I've certainly read a few of Sutcliffe's books, and I know I picked this up often enough in bookshops and libraries to look at and I certainly saw bits of the BBC adaptation, so I was familiar with the basic plot. A young man sets out to recover the Eagle of his father's old legion, which marched north beyond Hadrian's Wall years before and was never seen or heard from again. It's one of the great adventure story plots that taps right in to a young imagination and excites the primal yearning for a meaningful quest, a loyal friend and companion, a mystery whose solution lies in wild misty lands and a family honour to restore. But I never read it!

I think I just didn't get on with the setting, and Sutcliffe's fidelity to the social mores and culture of the Romans and the tribes of Britain confused and alienated me, not being terribly familiar with the period or the setting. I loved her High Deeds Of Finn McCool, though, and her Roman Britain novels always exerted a fascination over me, so I'm delighted to finally read this one, and definitely not disappointed.

So, yes, it is one of the great classic adventures of children's fiction and deserves to be remembered as such. Young Centurion Marcus Flavius Aquila arrives in Britain at the head of a cohort of Gaulish auxiliaries and takes command of the fort of Isca Dumnoniorum. Raw and inexperienced, he has soldiering in his blood, but is haunted by the memory of his father, who vanished along with the rest of the Ninth Legion when they marched north and was never heard from again. Marcus' dreams of a military career are cruelly dashed when he is injured in battle and invalided out of the army. Recovering in his uncle's villa, he impulsively acquires a slave, a defeated gladiator in whom he recognises a kindred spirit. As Marcus heals, the bond between the two men grows until, unexpectedly, an opportunity arises to go and recover the lost eagle of the Ninth Legion and redeem his father's memory.

From the civilised south, where Roman rule is strong and the roads are straight to the wild reaches of the north where the tribes worship gods of their own and follow their own laws, Marcus and Esca's epic journey is vivid, haunting, moving and exciting. It's a boy's tale, with only one semi-major female character, and is full of the lads and their exploits and their friendship and the bond of respect between them that transcends their respective cultures and their master/slave status. That's not to say that it's a book to be read only by boys or, indeed, only by the young. It's a great book and I'm glad I finally got around to it. ( )
  Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
What an excellent read; why did I not discover this author as a child? Rosemary Sutcliffe is described on the back cover as "one of the most highly respected authors of children's literature". This may be so but this book should appeal to more than just children. The narrative moves on at a cracking pace, there is sufficient detail to sketch the characters without losing any momentum in the pace of an excellent adventure story.

Nicely penned illustrations.20 ( )
  supersnake | Aug 3, 2015 |
I own this edition but the last time I read this was back in the 90s IIRC. The trilogy that this is part of is a good read. The Lantern Bearers being my favorite of the three. ( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rosemary Sutcliffprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Crossley-Holland, KevinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Diekmann, MiepTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hodges, C.WalterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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From the Fosseway westward to Isca Dumnoniorum the road was simply a British trackway, broadened and roughly metalled, strengthened by corduroys of logs in the softest places, but otherwise unchanged from its old estate, as it wound among the hills, thrusting further and further into the wilderness.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374419302, Paperback)

In a.d. 125, a young Roman centurion must recover the infamous Ninth Legion's missing symbol of honor, the eagle standard.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:01 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

A young centurion ventures among the hostile tribes beyond the Roman Wall to recover the eagle standard of the Ninth, a legion which mysteriously disappeared under his father's command.

(summary from another edition)

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