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The Eagle of the Ninth

by Rosemary Sutcliff

Children's & YA Fiction Historical fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of The Eagle of the Ninth

Mood, period, place, narrative

Back when I was not yet released to rampage through the adult stacks of my library, there were still treasures to be found in the ‘Children’s Section.’ Top of my list was Rosemary Sutcliff. I later did read her few adult historical fictions, but for me the essence of her greatness lies in the so-called Young Adult books. Sutcliff almost owned Roman Britain, and then the time when they began to withdraw, exploring. She kindled — actually, she ignited like a pyromaniac — my early passion for books about the past. Her most famous novel is probably The Eagle of the Ninth, about a young officer headed north in Britain at a precarious time for the Empire. He’s doing so in an immensely dangerous attempt to reclaim the lost standard of the Ninth Legion — it was his father’s legion, and it had disappeared in the north, beyond Hadrian’s Wall. Mood, period, place, narrative… what, for a young boy on the Canadian prairie, was there not to fall in love with? Sutcliff is not just for younger people. They aren’t to be allowed all the pleasures.

Selected by our Spring 2021 Guest Editor, Guy Gavriel Kay

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The Eagle of the Ninth Synopsis

The Ninth Legion marched into the mists of northern Britain - and they were never seen again.

Four thousand men disappeared and their eagle standard was lost. It's a mystery that's never been solved, until now . . .

Marcus has to find out what happened to his father, who led the legion. So he sets out into the unknown, on a quest so dangerous that nobody expects him to return.

The Eagle of the Ninth is heralded as one of the most outstanding children's books of the twentieth century and has sold over a million copies worldwide. Rosemary Sutcliff writes with such passion and attention to detail that Roman Britain is instantly brought to life and stays with the reader long after the last page has been turned.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780192777591
Publication date: 5th November 2020
Author: Rosemary Sutcliff
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 304 pages
Primary Genre Children's & YA Fiction
Other Genres:
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What To Read After The Eagle of the Ninth

Mad, Bad & Dangerous to Know
Voyage of the Sparrowhawk
Under A Dancing Star
Cane Warriors

Rosemary Sutcliff Press Reviews

Sutcliff was a superb writer with a classicist's grasp of the era, a poet's eye for nature and a devilish sense of plot. Fiction this evergreen cannot fail to uplift. - David Mitchell

I remember being gripped by the story of a young Roman called Marcus, and his quest to find the Eagle standard of a legion that marched north of Hadrian's wall and never returned. From then on I was a fan of Rosemary Sutcliff's books. - Tony Bradman

The Eagle of the Ninth is not only a rollicking good adventure, but also a touching and true story about friendship, love and loyalty. - Charlotte Higgins

Rosemary Sutcliff was one of my favourite authors when I was a child. I loved the detailed description and beautiful prose which fired my imagination. She made time travellers of her readers and I have never forgotten the intense pleasure her books gave me. The Eagle Of The Ninth was my favourite, not only for the romance and poignancy of the lost legion but the thrilling journey she took her readers on to the wild savage edge of the known world. I read Rosemary Sutcliff's books aloud to my own children who were as captivated as I was. She is one of our greatest writers and gave me a lifelong love of history. - Chris Riddell

What you read and love as a child stays with you for life, and that wonderful tale of courage and adventure in the misty north will be with me forever. - Elizabeth Laird

She was definitely a huge influence on my writing. Eagle of the Ninth in particular-That mix of 'What if ' and adventure. She totally took my mind to early Britain, she convinced me that I wanted to go there too. One of the few books I reread from time to time. - Fleur Hitchcock

Just read Warrior Scarlet for the first time and was totally blown away. I didn't read any Rosemary Sutcliff as a child, but I've been loving working my way through her books now, as a children's author. The Lantern Bearers is astonishingly resonant. And Sun Horse, Moon Horse! - SF Said

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780192777591
Publication date: 05/11/2020
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781857155204
Publication date: 24/09/2015
Format: Hardback

View All Editions

About Rosemary Sutcliff

Rosemary Sutcliff was born in Surrey, the daughter of a naval officer. At the age of two she contracted the progressively wasting Still's disease, and hence spent most of her life in a wheelchair. Although an avid reader, Rosemary made little progress with formal studies.She left school at the age of fourteen to attend art school in Bideford, where she specialized in miniature painting. Her first children's book was published in 1950, and from then on she devoted her time and talents to the writing of children's historical novels, which have placed her name high in the field of contemporary ...

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