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The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff
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Member:FreeloadingPhill
Title:The Eagle of the Ninth
Authors:Rosemary Sutcliff
Info:Puffin Books (2011), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:read2012, military-history-fiction

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The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff (1954)

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English (35)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Ah. It's hard to write reviews when you read a couple of amazing books in close proximity, because you want to convey how each one moved you without repeating yourself or resorting to meaningless hyperbole. (OMG JUST READ IT ALREADY. Etc.) Well, a few chapters into The Eagle of the Ninth I realized that it was going to be one of my favorite books of all time. In theory, it's a kids' book, but apparently kids in 1954, when it was written, were a lot smarter than kids these days - or adults for that matter; there were words I had to look up. No matter. The story is of a young Roman, Marcus Aquila, who takes upon himself the task of rescuing the eagle standard that disappeared with his father's legion, and finding out what happened to the legion while he's at it. He is joined by his friend, Esca, a native Briton who has been captured and put into slavery. What did I love about it? Everything. The characters and their relationships, the beautifully poetic prose, the effortless historical detail, the evocative and gorgeously real landscape. I would have sworn Sutcliff spent her childhood roaming the wilds of Scotland on horseback (oh, she writes horses beautifully too: a very rare and laudable trait). You could've knocked me over with a feather when I learned that she was confined to a wheelchair for most of her life. The Eagle of the Ninth is a kids' book, but it makes me happy to be alive so that I can read it. Now watch me while I go out and buy every single other book she's ever written.

To Marcus that moment was always like being born from one kind of life into another. So must an arrow feel when it leaves the bow! It had been hot and sultry in the old life, but in this one the cool wind flowed against him like water, pressing his thin scarlet tunic into his body, singing past his ears above the soft thunder of the ponies' flying hooves. He crouched lower, feeling the chariot floor buoyant and vibrating under his wide-set feet, feeling the reins quick with life in his hands, his will flowing out along them to the flying team, and their response flowing back to him, so that they were one. He called to them in the Celtic tongue, urging them on.

Review from my blog, This Space Intentionally Left Blank ( )
1 vote emepps | Jan 23, 2015 |
Interesting to compare to movie version. Events the same, but themes and character motivations seem quite different. I prefer the book!

Beautiful prose, though it took a bit more concentration to read.
  devafagan | Jan 2, 2015 |
I first read The Eagle of the Ninth when I was about 10, and it still gripped when I re-read it around 30 years later! Former centurion Marcus' journey into the wild country beyond Hadrian's Wall, accompanied by his British slave, Ecsa, in order to redeem the honour of his dead father by recovering the legion's eagle standard will always be a page-turner - there are battles, furious chases, intrigue and jeopardy a-plenty, the growing trust and friendship between Roman and Briton, and even a touch of romance for Marcus and a red-haired Romano-British girl ( )
  DauntlessGirl | Jan 12, 2014 |
This is an excellent book about Marcus, a Roman Centurion and his experiences as an officer in the Roman military who struggles with the legacy of the 9th Legion - a Legion that has been both disparaged and guarded since disappearing into the mists in Britain with his father as the standard bearer of the Eagle. Journey with Marcus as he leads his soldiers as only a true Leader is able, and follow his quest into Britain with Esca to recover the Eagle pinnacle of the guidon from the standard that mysteriously disappeared along with his father and four thousand Roman soldiers when he was just a child.

This was a recommendation by Carole Joy Seid, homeschooling consultant for learning Ancient Roman history. We have thoroughly enjoyed the book and have begun reading the next book, The Silver Branch.

There is a movie, based upon this story titled "The Eagle". ( )
  the4otts | Oct 23, 2013 |
Re-read - just as thrilling as when I was a kid. ( )
  SChant | Oct 9, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (32 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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:55 -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)

» see all 3 descriptions

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