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The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff
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1,846453,758 (4.08)141
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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English (43)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All (45)
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A coming of age tale in Roman Britain that looks at the concept of honor and responsibility in a more brutal time. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
Read this for a class on Roman Britain my first year of university. Quite liked it. ( )
  Kristin_Curdie_Cook | Apr 29, 2016 |
The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

In Rosemary Sutcliff's books the history of Britain comes alive through sensuous descriptions of luscious forests and ragged mountains, and characters so deeply imagined that linger in your mind after the book has ended, like childhood friends untouched by time and the drudgery of life.

Her books are not popcorn historical fiction novels with anachronistic characters dressed in the costumes of the time but keeping the ideas and sensibilities of their XX/XXI century authors. The people Rosemary Sutcliff's creates are imbued with the beliefs of their own time. And so it is that Marcus, the young centurion protagonist of The Eagle of the Ninth, pay tribute to Luth, the sun god, while the pagan tribes of Northern Britain worship gods that take animal shape in the night of the horn moon and believe the golden eagle the Roman legions carry in their standard is the Roman god.

At the beginning of The Eagle of the Ninth, Marcus, following in the steps of his father (supposed dead when his legion disappeared ten years past in northern Britain) has given his oath to Mithras and taken command of his first cohort in the southern part of the island.

Marcus dreams of a legion of his own and of an early retirement to a farm in the Etruscan hills that once belonged to his family. But fate has it that, in his first battle, he’s seriously injured and forced to leave the army.

During his long and painful recovery, Marcus hears rumors that the Roman eagle from his father lost legion is being worshipped by one of the pagan tribes up in the north.

Eager to restore his father’s honor and steal the eagle that could be used as a rally symbol against the hated Roman invaders should a revolt ever break anew among the dark barbarians, Marcus and his British freed slave, Ecca, travel north. All through the summer, they crisscross the wild regions beyond the wall that keeps the untamed tribes from the Roman world in search of the eagle.

Rosemary Sutcliff's takes her time in creating her characters and their world. As a result The Eagle of the Ninth is not the fast paced adventure you find in an action movie, but a well crafted and realistic tale that is, at the end, much more satisfying.

In my mind, a masterpiece.

Quotes from The Eagle of the Ninth

He stood for a while in the bothy doorway, ears stretched for any sound to break the silence of the mountains, but heard only the wet whisper of falling water where the swift stream came tumbling into the loch and a long while later, the belling of a stag.

Autumn had come to the mountains almost overnight, he thought. A few days ago, summer had still lingered, though the heather was past its flowering and flaming rowan berries long since gone. But now it was the Fall of the Leaf; one could smell the wind, and the trees of the glen grew bare and the brawling stream run gold with yellow birch branches.
( )
  CarmenFerreiro | Mar 28, 2016 |
Upping this to five stars. Still not my favorite of her books (nothing will ever top "[b:The Lantern Bearers|149418|The Lantern Bearers (Eagle of the Ninth, #3)|Rosemary Sutcliff|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1172202428s/149418.jpg|2471459]") but pretty near to perfect; I just didn't really realize it until this last read-through. ( )
  9inchsnails | Mar 7, 2016 |
I was about 12 when we did Roman Britain in history, and I didn't pay it much attention (we had a very boring teacher for Ancient Greece and Rome). Afterwards I never gave much thought to that period, apart from when it cropped up in some of the Didius Falco mysteries, so this story set in Roman-occupied Britain, with a likeable Roman protagonist, opened up new avenues. I admire the way Sutcliff took two incidents - a lost legion up in the mists of Scotland, a found eagle in the south of England - and wove them together to make quite a thrilling quest. Very enjoyable and not too sentimental. ( )
  overthemoon | Mar 6, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rosemary Sutcliffprimary authorall editionscalculated
Crossley-Holland, KevinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Diekmann, MiepTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hodges, C.WalterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mikolaycak, CharlesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, GeoffCover artistsecondary 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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