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Three Legions: Eagle of the Ninth ,…
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I first read these as a child, and was spellbound by the deft characterisation and bittersweet plotting. Sutcliff is interested in history, and is unapologetic in her embrace of reality rather than myth to sweeten it for children. As such, historical and semi-mythical characters are believable and the protagonists face a series of difficult decisions as they negotiate their way through 3 key stages in Romano-British history. There may be some romanticism here, but like Garner, Sutcliff is a novelist who taught me that I didn't mind finishing a book in tears. The Eagle of the Ninth (set at the peak of the Roman period, albeit mostly set outside the Empire north of the Wall) and the Lantern Bearers (the withdrawal of the Army and the first Germanic iinvasions) are stronger than the Silver Lantern (about a failed Romano-British rebellion), but they all bear up well - even if our views on the history / archaeology of the period have changed substantially since the novels were written. ( )
  imyril | Apr 5, 2013 |
The Eagle of the Ninth:
Invalided out of the Roman army, Marcus Flavius Aquila decides to solve the mystery of what happened to his father's legion, which disappeared in Northern Britain twenty years before, and to recover the legion's eagle, which is rumoured to be still kept in a native temple.

Wonderful YA book that is firmly rooted in place, with beautiful descriptions of the countryside, and finishes with an exciting chase. The book's central premise, the disappearance of the Ninth Legion, has been overturned by later archaeological discoveries, but that hardly matters.

The Silver Branch
Cousins Marcelus Flavius Aquila and Tiberius Lucius Justianus, descendents of Marcus Flavius Aquila from "The Eagle of the Ninth", serve under Carausius, Emperor of Britain, and lead the resistance against his successor Allectus.

High adventure with some great characters. Again, Sutcliff's descriptions of place and emotion are excellent.

The Lantern Bearers
Aquila (aka Dolphin) is another descendent, who decides to stay behind when the last Roman troops leave Britain. His family are betrayed to the Saxons and we watch his struggles to find a place for himself in a changed Britain.

Despite the great characters and sense of place, I thought this one dragged a bit with years passing between scenes. ( )
  Robertgreaves | May 27, 2011 |
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The Ninth Legion marched into the mists of northern Britain and they were never seen again. 4000 men disappeared and their eagle standard was lost. It's a mystery that's never been solved, until now.

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