The Eagle of the Ninth MOBI Ñ Eagle of the ePUB

The Eagle of the Ninth MOBI Ñ Eagle of the ePUB


The Eagle of the Ninth ❰PDF / Epub❯ ☄ The Eagle of the Ninth Author Rosemary Sutcliff – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk This indispensable classic Rosemary Sutcliff's  The Eagle of the Ninth an adventure story that unfolds in Roman Britain published in 1954 set the standard for all historical fiction for children that This indispensable classic of the PDF Ç Rosemary Sutcliff's  The Eagle of the Ninth an adventure story that unfolds in Roman Britain published in set the standard for all historical fiction for children that came after EVERYMAN'S LIBRARY CHILDREN'S CLASSICSIn the second century AD the Ninth The Eagle Kindle - Legion marched into northern Britain to suppress a rebellion of the Caledonian tribes and was never heard from again The young Roman officer Marcus Auila sets off on a perilous journey to find out what happened to the legion in which his father served Eagle of the ePUB ´ and if possible to salvage its eagle and its honor Accompanying him is Esca his freed slave with whom he gradually develops a deep and remarkable friendship that crosses the boundaries of conuest and colonialism An unforgettable story of adventure humanity and the mysteries of the past.


10 thoughts on “The Eagle of the Ninth

  1. Lance Greenfield Lance Greenfield says:

    Classic historical fictionAt the age of eight I read Eagle of the Ninth my first encounter with historical fiction I became hooked Since then I have been read Nigel Tranter John Prebble Conn Igguden Simon Scarrow Ruth Downie and many others Forty four years later re reading this classic is no less exciting for me My view is that it should be compulsory reading in primary school as it really does bring Roman Britain to life It is an exciting adventure that could possibly have been reality It is certainly tinged with historic factThis book had an amazing positive effect on my life in that it gave me an enormous appetite for books not just historical fiction However it did have a slightly negative effect on my life I was always in trouble with my history teachers for doubting what they told me After all when they were teaching me current affairs I was guided not to believe everything that the papers say My challenge was always that the contemporary commentators or historians that they expected me to believe were no less than the journalists of their time Why couldn't the historical fiction of which I was so fond be nearer to the truth than their history text booksEagle of the Ninth is a fantastic read Whatever your age if you haven't read this book already read it now


  2. Katie Hanna Katie Hanna says:

    WELL I CRIED ARE YOU HAPPY NOW ROSEMARY SUTCLIFF It's so weird When I read The Shield Ring my first Sutcliff book a few weeks ago I had the exact same experience I was reading along merrily enjoying myself greatly thinking wow this is a really solid fun story until just about the next to last chapter and then out of the blue stuff happened And I was crying Like a lot Dang it woman What are these emotions you're trying to give me I am the Girl Who Does Not Cry Over Books; you're ruining my reputation P Things I loved All the characters really Specifically Marcus Dear proud outwardly stiff inwardly soft as custard Marcus He was a wonderful hero and I loved following his uest to restore his father's lost Eagle And to do ALL THAT on a lame leg #respect #let'shearitfortheboy Esca HE LIKES PUPPIES 'Nuff said Esca and Marcus turning ever so slowly from master and slave to best friends It was done realistically I thought; and I liked how even afterwards little sparks of distrust would flare up from time to time Neither man would be human if that were not so But I loved even how Marcus would summarily snuff out those sparks by getting in Esca's face and yelling something along the lines of You're important to me and I care about your welfare you numbskull and then they'd be OK again Ah men P Cottia My sweet little spitfire with the candle flame of red hair I missed her on every page she didn't appear That's how vibrant a character she was Marcus and Cottia Uncle Auila He was rather a dear although crusty and it's not hard to see where Marcus comes by his Stiff Cold Mask ; Guern the Hunter tears falling The plot uest stories are always fun; and this one was infused with so much nostalgia so much wistfulness so much dreaminess really that it captivated me utterly Marcus is a dreamer first and foremost Much as he would hate to hear me say this he's a hopeless romantic He believes so strongly in the power of a SYMBOL the lost Eagle of his father's dead Legion that he's willing to risk his life about nine hundred 9 0 0 times in uick succession in order to get it back It's incredible It's insane And I wouldn't have missed it for the world The descriptions Now I'm gonna be honest here I didn't love them uite as much as Sutcliff's descriptions in The Shield Ring but they were still excellent uality I'm basically writing down my slightly lessened enjoyment to the fact that Sutcliff is working to create a different visual ATMOSPHERE in this story than in the other book a Roman atmosphere rather than a Viking one and I simply like the Viking aesthetic a bit better ; The imagery in TSR has this very delicate very ethereal uality at the same time as it's all harsh and steely gray and iron bound That's my jam Whereas here in EOTN it's all about clarity; the contrasts between light and darkness and the blood red of sunsets and roses and wine and military cloaks 'Tis beautiful; but it doesn't 100% suit me I have no Roman blood in case you were wondering P The themes Oh dear There were SO MANY OF THEM PEOPLE So many good ones Symbols matter Ideas matter The past is a weight we always carry with us and yet by the same token it's not something we can conjure up at a simple command to recreate exactly as we'd wish it to be The past does not exist to serve us But neither should we allow it to own us And perhaps most poignant No one whatever they've done or whatever they've suffered can ever be written off as a failure Ever WHICH IS WHY I CRIED SO HARD AT THE END CURSE YOU EVIL AUTHOR It was my Eagle once #iamnotokay Finally can I just say I adore the whole Dolphin Ring subplot I can't wait to see where it shows up in the next book I can't wait to see what Marcus builds with his new future and where it leads for the generations to come 3 Content Battles happen and bloody wounds happen and primitive operations; but none of these are terribly graphic This is old fashioned kids' fiction after all There is a veryyyyyyyyyyyyyy light romance No language unless you count Marcus saying stuff about his gods whenever he's Put Out P Conclusion Where is the next book that I may read it


  3. Charles van Buren Charles van Buren says:

    I read The Eagle of the Ninth in high school but intend to revisit it fairly soon It helped cement my fondness for well researched well written historical fiction This novel set many people on that path including some who became authors themselves This is just one of Rosemary Sutcliff's great novels She wrote this particular novel as juvenile fiction but it is such a masterful work that it appeals across age linesJust finished rereading The Eagle of the Ninth for the first time since high school The book is even better than I remembered it Shouldn't have waited so long for a second reading


  4. Spencer Orey Spencer Orey says:

    This was a cool classic I liked the RomanBritain setting a lot The main character has a nice journey and some good friends The uest to find the eagle is a good one


  5. Allison Tebo Allison Tebo says:

    Mini ReviewFor many years Rosemary Sutcliff has been one of my favorite authors and she always will be It had been a long time since I had read this book and I decided it was high time to rediscover it It was even better than I had remembered Meet Marcus a young soldier who’s career and future seem dashed after a courageous defense cripples him for life But Marcus is one of a rare breed he possess a raw white courage a grim determination that forces him to press on Despite all odds and take up a new dream venture into the wild north to find a lost standard and clear his father’s name With him comes his best friend and former slave EscaMarcus and Esca’s relationship is in my mind one of the definitive buddy stories and one I will never tire of reading On top of that we have Cottia and Marcus a relationship that moves beautifully from a sibling like comradeship to something uite romantic Then we have Uncle Auila the proverbial writer and a gruff old bachelor who has charm than he’d like to admit There are other side characters all of them colorful and unforgettable—and they are merely the finely painted details of a magnificent and epic adventure supported by the roots of Sutcliff’s superb writing Sutcliff is a storyteller without parallel and The Eagle of the Ninth is one of her greatest works


  6. Mary Mary says:

    The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff is so much than the usual riveting adventure story though it is most definitely that It's deep in thought and emotion vibrantly vivid in character and setting and rich with living history and with truths about life and people This story of the journey and uest of two young men holds much meaning for me even now than it did when I first read and loved it as a young teenager I couldn't have known then that my future life experience would be in some ways oddly similar to that of the main character Rather than being an overview of the book itself my review is a chronicle of my ever deeper connection with this story and its characters I first came across The Eagle of the Ninth by chance the spring I was 15 years old and once I picked it up I couldn't stop reading I fell immediately and irrevocably in love with the book its characters its seuels and the setting of Roman Britain It was my first experience with the author and it was one of the most memorable reading experiences I've ever had I vividly recall sitting on the floor glued to the book heedless of the homework I was supposed to be doing and only half aware of the fresh breeze blowing through my window I was drawn in by both the opening battle scenes and the bright peaceful magic of the friendship scenes in the garden The characters were vivid and alive than almost any book I'd read and I've been endeared to them ever since then The book was incredibly deep and it made me think and feel so much even then I was riveted through the heightened danger of the climax desperate to find out what happened next My heart was in my throat and I genuinely couldn't see how the two main characters would ever survive the showdown I had to keep reading Except for one other book I think it was the most intense novel I'd read at the time I loved it I couldn't read the seuel soon enough and I immediately became a devoted fan of the author and her works  I read The Eagle of the Ninth for the second time less than two years after the first As much as I loved the book the first time I experienced a far deeper connection with it during my re read and I deeply identified with the main character in an unexpected way I couldn't have anticipated or shared in before That second read came at age 17 just after the onset of a life altering chronic illness that shattered my big dreams destroyed my hopes of the future and left me fighting my way through each day To my surprise since I hadn't thought of the book in that way before I found in the pages of The Eagle of the Ninth that the young protagonist Centurion Marcus Flavius Auila shared my experience Marcus's life altering illness was a severe career ending wound sustained in battle not the type of illness I had but it was comparable and had a strangely similar effect on him as my condition did for me despite obvious differences His glowing hopes and dreams for the future like mine were dashed to bits He was bedridden and like me he spent hours forced to lie in bed watching the block of sunlight drift across the walls and listening to the sounds of household life go on beyond them I had felt and still felt the inner ache Marcus felt lying in that bed and I recognized it as I read I felt it again while reading both for myself and for Marcus whose plight I keenly felt and empathized with not just as a reader but as someone who had been through it too and at very nearly the same age Like me Marcus spent much of his time lying there cut off from the world isolated and alone Like me he faced the inner battle that accompanied the long days in bed and long nights of lost sleep Like me he was deeply achingly lonely Like me he was deeply afraid afraid for his health and afraid for his future though he did a good job of hiding it from others Like me he held on to his hopes for the future even though they were impossible until the news and reality hit that those hopes could never be restored and along with that realization despair as he let his hopes go Like me Marcus felt as if his life was effectively over before it had hardly begun because how could life keep going after what happened He had been young and strong and had a full bright and meaningful life ahead of him until he wasn't and didn't Though he survived he was left bedridden and crippled seemingly doomed to live out his days that way As I watched Marcus lying there in bed his story seemed strangely parallel in some ways though of course not all to my own life as I lay in bed reading this book and I'm pretty sure I remember that it made me cry to realize it I had never before read a book about any character much less a young hero who spent time flat on his back in bed than I did In addition though I can't recall whether I knew or remembered it at the time the author Rosemary Sutcliff was an invalid as well to a vastly greater extent than either me or Marcus who were only partial and temporary invalids Sutcliff battled juvenile rheumatoid arthritis from childhood spent her formative years bed bound at home or in the hospital and was wheelchair bound for the rest of her life I can't help but imagine that Marcus's experience was born from her own and it was written as only someone who has lived it can Reading that part of Marcus's story was comforting for me as well as sad and painful and I felt a kinship with Marcus and other young people in the real world who have had that experience including so many who have had it far far worse than me I've read very few novels since then about young people who were ill for long periods and none prior to it and I'm grateful that Sutcliff wrote this book for other young individuals like me and herself This newfound meaningful connection gave me an extra fondness for the book and its author and main character I didn't realize then how meaningful it truly was or realize the rest of the similarities between me and Marcus but I would later on as my future unfolded I began reading this beloved book again this month for the first time in a few years and as I reconnected with the story and its beloved protagonist once again I recalled again that special parallel between me and Marcus even keenly than I periodically had through the years between now and the last time I read it And as I did so I was suddenly hit with the realization that the connection parallels and similarities between Marcus me and our journeys were far greater than I had previously supposed And it made me cry to contemplate it Because his story didn't end with him lying in bed wounded That was only the beginning even if it seemed to him like the end of his story and the effective end of his life Like me Marcus lay in bed unable to get up and struggled to find the strength to keep fighting and going on But like me he did keep fighting and did go on His dreams and goals seemed impossible and hopeless but instead of resigning himself never to pursue them he kept striving toward them He could never be a soldier again but he found other important dreams to pursue Even those dreams seemed impossible and would've been for a less determined man But though so many people scorned his goal as unattainable and impossible he pursued it anyway against all odds That's what I'm doing Life does go on even when it seems too difficult It gets easier Like Marcus I'm healing from that illness But like his it hasn't gone away even though it's greatly improved and sometimes it gets worse again as his did However both of us have gone on anyway and refused to let it stop us Marcus was left as a lame man doomed to walk with a limp and feel pain for the rest of his life But he walked again and lived a meaningful life despite injury and hardship And he pursued his impossible dreams which remained despite their revision The young man who at first couldn't walk and could later walk only with difficulty went on his noble and perilous uest anyway tramping through the wilderness lame leg and all in search of the dream he carried from the start And I'm doing the same I'm crippled in a way but I haven't halted even though going on is still difficult Like Marcus I'm healing in spirit and heart as well as in body Like him I'm walking ahead on a long hard road with many obstacles in the way of my journey But like Marcus I'm forging ahead toward my revised dreams anyway against all odds And like him I believe I'll reach my goal even if it still looks impossible and should still be Marcus pursued his dream relentlessly and it paid off as a direct result of that determined pursuit He refused to settle for a mediocre life And although it looked different than he expected in the end his dream was restored when it should have remained dead He reached his goal against all odds when he should logically have failed And as I follow in his footsteps figurative limp and all so will I Until I read this book again just now I had forgotten the unexpected words Marcus says to Esca near the end if I ever noticed them They didn't mean to me before what they mean now and they struck me like they hadn't before piercing straight to my heart Just after the two characters return from their journey Marcus has finally found inner freedom from the inner and outer scars of his crippling wound even though those scars still remain Esca is still inwardly living in the shadow of past slavery and Marcus hurts to see it and urges him to let it go Marcus tells Esca that neither of them can let their scars define them They can't live their lives under the shadow of the deep wounds of the past They must forge on as free men not living as slaves to the hurts they went through Those words of truth are for me as much as for Marcus and Esca and they help me and mean the world to me as I'm sure they have for many others Hearing that message from a character I look up to and through Marcus his author helps me as I strive to do just that Like Marcus I refuse to let those things define me Like him I'm pressing on in freedom and overcoming my own obstacles striving toward my dreams Right now I'm at the place Marcus was in at the beginning of the final chapter of The Eagle of the Ninth I've gone on to finish with difficulty the next goal ahead of me And now that I have I'm once again face to face with the unknown future that's been in the background this whole time I'm still striving toward my lofty goal and I believe I'll reach it one day but as of now it's still impossible I'm waiting indefinitely for a breakthrough to make those things possible And I believe that my breakthrough will come just as Marcus's did Someday several years from now when I reach the goals that are so close to my heart I will re read The Eagle of the Ninth again and identify with Marcus yet because I'll be in the place he was in at the very end of the book when all his most precious dreams come to fruition I know I'll get there just as he did And as it was for him it will be a sweet and joyful day  The above narrative captures just a small part of why I love The Eagle of the Ninth and what it means to me It is a phenomenal book in every way and there are so many reasons why Here are just a few of many other things I appreciate about this book As with every Sutcliff book the settings and characters of The Eagle of the Ninth pulse with life and color Each character is described in just enough detail to bring him or her vividly to life and each one feels like a real person the reader is acuainted with The settings are achingly gorgeous the high mist crowned mountain crags the rushing breeze and golden sunshine on the green of the garden the shimmering ripples of the highland lochs the foam white sprays of blossoms on branches the deep gold of the lamplight on the walls and the scarlet and purple sunset shining on the hills Each place is so immediate and real that I feel as if I can smell feel see and taste each living detail and the beauty fills my heart to the point of bursting Marcus He's such a wonderful character and though I love so many of the others in this book he's my favorite Marcus kind compassionate caring sympathetic and understanding He is full of character wisdom maturity skill valiance and keen instinct yet he's young and doubts his own abilities – and he's not perfect by any means He has such strength of character and leadership that his soldiers and his friends would follow him anywhere and they prove it by doing so I find it endearing that he becomes stiffly proud and arrogant when he feels vulnerable and uncomfortable yet is truly humble underneath and in reality He's a stickler for honor but he cares far about the honor of his empire and especially his father than about his own honor He's not aware of his own humility and the story is from his perspective so it's never stated in the narrative; rather his deep unassuming humility shows in his words and actions He is stubborn determined and immovable pursuing his cause and what's right no matter what refusing to give up no matter the odds And it pays off when he overcomes the worst odds going to great lengths for the eagle and refusing to settle for life as an invalid He is unflinchingly selflessly coolly recklessly purposefully and sacrificially brave Even and especially when he's terrified he is still strong and courageous even when it means facing down and enduring death or excruciating pain As for the other characters I could go on and on about them too especially Cottia and Esca But I shall be brief I love Cottia's ueenlike poise and grace and the fierce and fiery spirit that matches her flaming hair and causes Marcus to call her You little vixen than once I love Esca's loyalty to Marcus his courage that is every bit as great as Marcus's own his slow grave smile his fighting spirit and the wildness about him that can never be fully tamed I love Uncle Auila and the way he cares about and advocates for Marcus and the others while pretending to be grumpy while all the while his big heart shines through from beneath I love Cub's refusal to be parted from Marcus his wild exuberant joy each time he is reunited with his young master and the way he comforts and stands by Marcus when he needs it most And I love how even the minor characters are interesting complex and often endearing I appreciate Centurion Drusillus Guern the Hunter and Marcus's father who are wonderful even though they have less time on the page Even Marcus's enemies are almost likeable and even Aunt Valeria is bursting with personality  One of my favorite things about this book is the portrayal of friendships Marcus is lonely desolate and friendless for part of the book but in a seuence of providential events he gains three close and loyal friends who are each totally devoted to him in their own way With Esca Marcus shares a deep and brotherly bond that motivates Esca to let down his guard care for Marcus and walk into unimaginable danger and threat of death alongside his friend Instead of the bondage of a slave following his master Esca follows Marcus as a devoted friend even when he's free to do otherwise As for Cottia I love her friendship with Marcus as well than I can put into words I love how Marcus understands her fights for her laughs with her and takes care of her and how Cottia supports him brightens his dim world and waits many months for his return among so much else Then there's Cub as faithful a canine friend as any man could wish for with devotion and loyalty eual to Esca's The four of them bring light and laughter to each other's worlds Marcus reaches out to each of them in turn and earns each of their loyalty He helps them when they need it most and in return they help him when he himself is most in need What I love most about each friendship is how each of the three chooses Marcus when they could leave and be parted from him – and none of the three can imagine or bear the thought of parting They each separately choose to follow him be united with him and remain devoted to him when they have a choice between that and the alternative and that's beautiful to me The story has a surprisingly large amount of wit and humor and it made me laugh out loud often Marcus's narration is often sarcastic ironic or hilariously biting especially his mental commentary on other people and he laughs at himself as well The banter and clever dialogue the characters exchange is humorous and delightful and even in the midst of danger the characters exchange light or grim jokes And the comical portrayal of Marcus's alias Demetrius of Alexandria had me laughing throughout one funny scene The themes are beautiful and profound worked subtly naturally and meaningfully throughout with the skilled hand of a true master as is the case with everything about Sutcliff's works Among the deep themes are sacrifice loyalty leadership hope healing; honor and shame; courage and fear; freedom and bondage; and life and death I'm amazed at how Sutcliff portrays each character sympathetically and with complexity – human and not either black or white as real people are Even each Marcus's enemies were also friends first And a few of the good characters aren't totally good But as each of us must in the real world the main characters still pursue what they believe is right and I love that Sutcliff also truthfully portrays warring cultures as neither good nor evil – even though they may technically be enemies there are friendships across the barriers of culture I love that Marcus learns to see other characters as people not on the basis of nationality or other difference between them – and that he's willing to learn it Even though his allegiance is to Rome he grows to understand the British culture – and he eventually transfers his home and allegiance to Roman Britain And of course I could go on and on The Eagle of the Ninth is an amazing book and it's a lasting favorite of mine for good reason It will always remain one of the best books I've ever read and it only grows wonderful to me as time goes on It's also stood the test of time through many decades with readers who have gone before me and I know it will always remain a classic by way of its great uality You're missing out if you haven't read it so go read it if you haven't It's a wonderful read for anyone who loves young adult adventure or historical fiction – and is just as good if you don't And if you have read it before or are a fan I hope you'll appreciate it or be motivated to read it again As for me I look forward to re reading The Eagle of the Ninth again and again and seeing it even deeply each time – along with my own life and self as a result As I've dug deeper into the book this time I know I've by no means exhausted the truth heart and meaning it contains for me personally and in general and I look forward to discovering yet when I read it yet again someday


  7. Joanne Harris Joanne Harris says:

    I loved this book dearly as a child and it has lost none of its magic now Beautifully written discreetly poetic without a single word out of place it's a thrilling adventure an excellently researched piece of historical fiction and a fabulous depiction of friendship all in one Read it at any age and marvel at the pacing; the gradual build up the terrific characterization the breathless race to the final climax Sutcliff brings Roman Britain to life as no one else has ever done; and her novel is touching absorbing and uietly haunting until long after the final page has been turned


  8. Sarah Sarah says:

    In 117 ADCE the Ninth Legion of the Roman Army marched into the mists of Caledonia the land known today as Scotland They were never seen againThe standard bearer of the Legio IX Hispana who held aloft the golden eagle as they marched was the father of our hero Marcus Flavius Auila Marcus was a lad of twelve years when his father vanished Now a young adult eager to prove his mettle Marcus himself serves as a Roman officer in Britain He is discharged after a grievous battle wound that gives him a slight limp While recuperating in the house of his uncle Marcus has nothing but downtime in which to ponder the fate of his father and the standard he carried into the Caledonian mists He also forms three fast friendships The first is with Esca a young Briton whom Marcus purchased as a manservant slave to save him from the gladiator fights The second is with an orphaned wolf cub named simply Cub whom Esca adopted when on a hunting excursion that killed Cub’s mother The third is with Cottia a British girl being unwillingly raised as a Roman by the family next doorWhen he has sufficiently recovered Marcus accompanied only by Esca decides to go north beyond the wall of Britannia and follow the trail of the Ninth Legion into Celtic lands unknown His intent to bring back the Eagle and restore the honor of his father’s LegionContent Advisory Violence There’s a gladiator combat where men and beasts are slain although Sutcliff spares us the worst of the gore There’s also a battle seuence that focuses on Marcus’ state of mind than the carnage around him Another battle towards the end of the book has minimal bloodshed Sex Marcus nicknames Cottia a little vixen This is a reference to her red hair and ferocity but he probably also calls her that because he finds her rather well Language Nothing Substance Abuse Everybody drinks wine and beer because the water back then was a sanitation hazard Nightmare Fuel The Celtic Feast of New Spears features some rituals that could be rather frightening to younger kids including men prancing about wearing dead animals the emblems of their clans on their heads The being here called the Horned Hunter also known as Cernunnos or Herne has a strange presence in the book—the main characters don’t believe in him per se but almost fear that he might spring on them as they go about their task—and he’s kind of spooky even though he never materializes ConclusionsThis is my first Sutcliff book and my only complaint is that somehow I did not find out about this book’s existence until recently Ah well Better late than never What an outstanding novel Nearly every aspect of it is perfect The characters have such vibrancy and depth especially Marcus and Esca Marcus unlike most young Roman men in fiction is a gracious and humble fellow who cares so deeply for the honor of his father and people but thinks nothing of his own pride and even lifeEsca is uiet observant loyal and deep The way the lads develop over their journey is amazing from master and servant to brothers in arms They were able to transcend the prejudices of their respective cultures and have one of the strongest literary friendships I’ve ever seenThese two are the main focus but the supporting cast is wonderful too Guern is particularly lovable Tradui is intriguing and Tribune Placidus is just one of those smarmy little pseudo villains that one loves to hate Cottia reminds me a bit of Éowyn with her desperate desire for freedom not to mention her penchant for standing in the wind with her bright hair billowing out from under her cloak My only complaint with her is that she should have been in of the story But Roman society in those days kept men and women apart most of the time The only way unfortunately that Cottia or any other girl could have participated in an adventure like this one is by disguising herself as a boy which wouldn’t have worked in this case anyway because Marcus and Esca would have recognized her instantly Cub is a delight the fiercest of all hunters yet the doggiest of dogs who nearly starved himself to death when his master had to leave him behind and greeted him with a flurry of tail wagging and slobbery kisses when he finally came home The desolation and ferocity of Roman Britannia is the baseline of the story and Sutcliff paints the environs richly with her well chosen words The only way to make the moors the old forests and the Lowlands even forlorn than usual is to step back to this ancient era—before Heathcliff and Catherine before Macbeth and the three witches before even King Arthur rose from the ashes of Rome and Druidism The few settlements are lonely little lights in the mist And as you can imagine the people living in those settlements are rather nervous Rome is far away and reinforcements take a while to reach the lime cliff shores of Britain A fell sweep of northern Celtic tribes could push the Romans back into the sea Even the gladiator fights which were aggressively festive events in Rome itself are portrayed here as being nearly as nerve wracking for the viewers as for the combatants Sutcliff masterfully evokes the tension and dread that the Roman colonists must have lived with on a daily basis With all the Biblical fiction I’ve been reading lately it’s interesting to see how the Western and Eastern frontiers of the Empire paralleled each other The Celts and the Judeans had nothing culturally in common beyond their fierce independence and both lands seethed against their overlords This was a thoroughly enjoyable book I’m hugely impressed with Sutcliff’s storytelling ability and I can’t wait to read the adventures of Marcus and Cottia’s descendents PS A movie based on this book came out a few years ago starring Channing Tatum as Marcus and Jamie Bell as Esca It looks like a highly enjoyable film in its own right and I could easily picture those two actors as the heroes of the story However I’m annoyed that the movie appears to have written Cottia and Cub out of the story entirely and the subplot about Esca view spoilerturning on Marcus and enslaving him hide spoiler


  9. Hannah Hannah says:

    Rating Clarification 45 StarsMy first Rosemary Sutcliff book but it will not be my last This tale of Roman Britain and the lost Ninth Legion brings the reader into a fully imagined yet realistic world in which honor and duty are sacrosanct and the meeting of two cultures can be either a time of mutual respect or bloody conflict and distrust Sutcliff is one darn brilliant writer of characters and settings I could fully picture the time period the people and the atmosphere It rang true and nothing seemed out of sync or out of periodOverall it did surprise me how good this book was I mean exceptionally good I don't think I've enjoyed a YA novel since Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games there are no similarities between the two books except that both are well written and hard to put downAlthough written primarily for a YA audience back in the mid 1950's Sutcliff doesn't hesitate to challenge her readers with terms and phrases they might not understand heck who am I kidding it was a challenge for me at times Very probably young readers of the 50's were well read and grounded in history then I wasThis is a story I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to young and old alike Although boys might find a greater appreciation for the story I feel it crosses age and gender lines as wellAnd imagine my surprise and delight to find that the 2011 movie The Eagle is based on this novel Now I've got to go put this on my Netflix ueue to see if the film makers did the book justice Probably not but hey Jamie Bell is in it


  10. Nicky Nicky says:

    This book is fully as good as I remember That's a lot to say for a book that I adored from the age of eight until about fourteen reread at seventeen ish and then haven't read for a few years In my head it was always one of the most amazing books of my childhood and my memory didn't overstate it It is written for children so it's very easy to read and perhaps a little less than subtle in places particularly with foreshadowing Little did he know how important this piece of information was going to become sort of thingBut Marcus and Esca are still the bright real characters I remember I always loved the parts that show the bond between them the friendship that transcends the initial fact of Esca's slavery In fact reading it again it kind of amazed me how strong their friendship was realistic yes and with boundaries but strong I can picture both of them as characters down to the way they move can almost hear their voices Part of that is years of imagination as a child but I wouldn't have bothered if I didn't have good material to work onIt's been a while since I did Classics and longer since I learnt anything about the Roman occupation of Britain but I think the historical details are reasonably accurate too I like the development of the two mysteries the entombed Roman Eagle and the disappearance of the HispanaOne thing I did notice was similarities in description and ideas to The Capricorn Bracelet which I read for the first time last week That was a little disappointingEdit Reread again because I'll be getting the rest of this series for Christmas Each book stands alone I gather certainly The Eagle of the Ninth does in any case with no trailing plotlines left behind but I wanted to revisit a childhood favourite and this made an excellent excuseFor some reason the moment that sticks in my mind right now is when Esca tells Marcus he saw the march of the ill fated Hispana to where they fell and Marcus replies that his father's crest was the scarlet hackle next after the eagle


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10 thoughts on “The Eagle of the Ninth

  1. Lance Greenfield Lance Greenfield says:

    Classic historical fictionAt the age of eight I read Eagle of the Ninth my first encounter with historical fiction I became hooked Since then I have been read Nigel Tranter John Prebble Conn Igguden Simon Scarrow Ruth Downie and many others Forty four years later re reading this classic is no less exciting for me My view is that it should be compulsory reading in primary school as it really does bring Roman Britain to life It is an exciting adventure that could possibly have been reality It is certainly tinged with historic factThis book had an amazing positive effect on my life in that it gave me an enormous appetite for books not just historical fiction However it did have a slightly negative effect on my life I was always in trouble with my history teachers for doubting what they told me After all when they were teaching me current affairs I was guided not to believe everything that the papers say My challenge was always that the contemporary commentators or historians that they expected me to believe were no less than the journalists of their time Why couldn't the historical fiction of which I was so fond be nearer to the truth than their history text booksEagle of the Ninth is a fantastic read Whatever your age if you haven't read this book already read it now

  2. Katie Hanna Katie Hanna says:

    WELL I CRIED ARE YOU HAPPY NOW ROSEMARY SUTCLIFF It's so weird When I read The Shield Ring my first Sutcliff book a few weeks ago I had the exact same experience I was reading along merrily enjoying myself greatly thinking wow this is a really solid fun story until just about the next to last chapter and then out of the blue stuff happened And I was crying Like a lot Dang it woman What are these emotions you're trying to give me I am the Girl Who Does Not Cry Over Books; you're ruining my reputation P Things I loved All the characters really Specifically Marcus Dear proud outwardly stiff inwardly soft as custard Marcus He was a wonderful hero and I loved following his uest to restore his father's lost Eagle And to do ALL THAT on a lame leg #respect #let'shearitfortheboy Esca HE LIKES PUPPIES 'Nuff said Esca and Marcus turning ever so slowly from master and slave to best friends It was done realistically I thought; and I liked how even afterwards little sparks of distrust would flare up from time to time Neither man would be human if that were not so But I loved even how Marcus would summarily snuff out those sparks by getting in Esca's face and yelling something along the lines of You're important to me and I care about your welfare you numbskull and then they'd be OK again Ah men P Cottia My sweet little spitfire with the candle flame of red hair I missed her on every page she didn't appear That's how vibrant a character she was Marcus and Cottia Uncle Auila He was rather a dear although crusty and it's not hard to see where Marcus comes by his Stiff Cold Mask ; Guern the Hunter tears falling The plot uest stories are always fun; and this one was infused with so much nostalgia so much wistfulness so much dreaminess really that it captivated me utterly Marcus is a dreamer first and foremost Much as he would hate to hear me say this he's a hopeless romantic He believes so strongly in the power of a SYMBOL the lost Eagle of his father's dead Legion that he's willing to risk his life about nine hundred 9 0 0 times in uick succession in order to get it back It's incredible It's insane And I wouldn't have missed it for the world The descriptions Now I'm gonna be honest here I didn't love them uite as much as Sutcliff's descriptions in The Shield Ring but they were still excellent uality I'm basically writing down my slightly lessened enjoyment to the fact that Sutcliff is working to create a different visual ATMOSPHERE in this story than in the other book a Roman atmosphere rather than a Viking one and I simply like the Viking aesthetic a bit better ; The imagery in TSR has this very delicate very ethereal uality at the same time as it's all harsh and steely gray and iron bound That's my jam Whereas here in EOTN it's all about clarity; the contrasts between light and darkness and the blood red of sunsets and roses and wine and military cloaks 'Tis beautiful; but it doesn't 100% suit me I have no Roman blood in case you were wondering P The themes Oh dear There were SO MANY OF THEM PEOPLE So many good ones Symbols matter Ideas matter The past is a weight we always carry with us and yet by the same token it's not something we can conjure up at a simple command to recreate exactly as we'd wish it to be The past does not exist to serve us But neither should we allow it to own us And perhaps most poignant No one whatever they've done or whatever they've suffered can ever be written off as a failure Ever WHICH IS WHY I CRIED SO HARD AT THE END CURSE YOU EVIL AUTHOR It was my Eagle once #iamnotokay Finally can I just say I adore the whole Dolphin Ring subplot I can't wait to see where it shows up in the next book I can't wait to see what Marcus builds with his new future and where it leads for the generations to come 3 Content Battles happen and bloody wounds happen and primitive operations; but none of these are terribly graphic This is old fashioned kids' fiction after all There is a veryyyyyyyyyyyyyy light romance No language unless you count Marcus saying stuff about his gods whenever he's Put Out P Conclusion Where is the next book that I may read it

  3. Charles van Buren Charles van Buren says:

    I read The Eagle of the Ninth in high school but intend to revisit it fairly soon It helped cement my fondness for well researched well written historical fiction This novel set many people on that path including some who became authors themselves This is just one of Rosemary Sutcliff's great novels She wrote this particular novel as juvenile fiction but it is such a masterful work that it appeals across age linesJust finished rereading The Eagle of the Ninth for the first time since high school The book is even better than I remembered it Shouldn't have waited so long for a second reading

  4. Spencer Orey Spencer Orey says:

    This was a cool classic I liked the RomanBritain setting a lot The main character has a nice journey and some good friends The uest to find the eagle is a good one

  5. Allison Tebo Allison Tebo says:

    Mini ReviewFor many years Rosemary Sutcliff has been one of my favorite authors and she always will be It had been a long time since I had read this book and I decided it was high time to rediscover it It was even better than I had remembered Meet Marcus a young soldier who’s career and future seem dashed after a courageous defense cripples him for life But Marcus is one of a rare breed he possess a raw white courage a grim determination that forces him to press on Despite all odds and take up a new dream venture into the wild north to find a lost standard and clear his father’s name With him comes his best friend and former slave EscaMarcus and Esca’s relationship is in my mind one of the definitive buddy stories and one I will never tire of reading On top of that we have Cottia and Marcus a relationship that moves beautifully from a sibling like comradeship to something uite romantic Then we have Uncle Auila the proverbial writer and a gruff old bachelor who has charm than he’d like to admit There are other side characters all of them colorful and unforgettable—and they are merely the finely painted details of a magnificent and epic adventure supported by the roots of Sutcliff’s superb writing Sutcliff is a storyteller without parallel and The Eagle of the Ninth is one of her greatest works

  6. Mary Mary says:

    The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff is so much than the usual riveting adventure story though it is most definitely that It's deep in thought and emotion vibrantly vivid in character and setting and rich with living history and with truths about life and people This story of the journey and uest of two young men holds much meaning for me even now than it did when I first read and loved it as a young teenager I couldn't have known then that my future life experience would be in some ways oddly similar to that of the main character Rather than being an overview of the book itself my review is a chronicle of my ever deeper connection with this story and its characters I first came across The Eagle of the Ninth by chance the spring I was 15 years old and once I picked it up I couldn't stop reading I fell immediately and irrevocably in love with the book its characters its seuels and the setting of Roman Britain It was my first experience with the author and it was one of the most memorable reading experiences I've ever had I vividly recall sitting on the floor glued to the book heedless of the homework I was supposed to be doing and only half aware of the fresh breeze blowing through my window I was drawn in by both the opening battle scenes and the bright peaceful magic of the friendship scenes in the garden The characters were vivid and alive than almost any book I'd read and I've been endeared to them ever since then The book was incredibly deep and it made me think and feel so much even then I was riveted through the heightened danger of the climax desperate to find out what happened next My heart was in my throat and I genuinely couldn't see how the two main characters would ever survive the showdown I had to keep reading Except for one other book I think it was the most intense novel I'd read at the time I loved it I couldn't read the seuel soon enough and I immediately became a devoted fan of the author and her works  I read The Eagle of the Ninth for the second time less than two years after the first As much as I loved the book the first time I experienced a far deeper connection with it during my re read and I deeply identified with the main character in an unexpected way I couldn't have anticipated or shared in before That second read came at age 17 just after the onset of a life altering chronic illness that shattered my big dreams destroyed my hopes of the future and left me fighting my way through each day To my surprise since I hadn't thought of the book in that way before I found in the pages of The Eagle of the Ninth that the young protagonist Centurion Marcus Flavius Auila shared my experience Marcus's life altering illness was a severe career ending wound sustained in battle not the type of illness I had but it was comparable and had a strangely similar effect on him as my condition did for me despite obvious differences His glowing hopes and dreams for the future like mine were dashed to bits He was bedridden and like me he spent hours forced to lie in bed watching the block of sunlight drift across the walls and listening to the sounds of household life go on beyond them I had felt and still felt the inner ache Marcus felt lying in that bed and I recognized it as I read I felt it again while reading both for myself and for Marcus whose plight I keenly felt and empathized with not just as a reader but as someone who had been through it too and at very nearly the same age Like me Marcus spent much of his time lying there cut off from the world isolated and alone Like me he faced the inner battle that accompanied the long days in bed and long nights of lost sleep Like me he was deeply achingly lonely Like me he was deeply afraid afraid for his health and afraid for his future though he did a good job of hiding it from others Like me he held on to his hopes for the future even though they were impossible until the news and reality hit that those hopes could never be restored and along with that realization despair as he let his hopes go Like me Marcus felt as if his life was effectively over before it had hardly begun because how could life keep going after what happened He had been young and strong and had a full bright and meaningful life ahead of him until he wasn't and didn't Though he survived he was left bedridden and crippled seemingly doomed to live out his days that way As I watched Marcus lying there in bed his story seemed strangely parallel in some ways though of course not all to my own life as I lay in bed reading this book and I'm pretty sure I remember that it made me cry to realize it I had never before read a book about any character much less a young hero who spent time flat on his back in bed than I did In addition though I can't recall whether I knew or remembered it at the time the author Rosemary Sutcliff was an invalid as well to a vastly greater extent than either me or Marcus who were only partial and temporary invalids Sutcliff battled juvenile rheumatoid arthritis from childhood spent her formative years bed bound at home or in the hospital and was wheelchair bound for the rest of her life I can't help but imagine that Marcus's experience was born from her own and it was written as only someone who has lived it can Reading that part of Marcus's story was comforting for me as well as sad and painful and I felt a kinship with Marcus and other young people in the real world who have had that experience including so many who have had it far far worse than me I've read very few novels since then about young people who were ill for long periods and none prior to it and I'm grateful that Sutcliff wrote this book for other young individuals like me and herself This newfound meaningful connection gave me an extra fondness for the book and its author and main character I didn't realize then how meaningful it truly was or realize the rest of the similarities between me and Marcus but I would later on as my future unfolded I began reading this beloved book again this month for the first time in a few years and as I reconnected with the story and its beloved protagonist once again I recalled again that special parallel between me and Marcus even keenly than I periodically had through the years between now and the last time I read it And as I did so I was suddenly hit with the realization that the connection parallels and similarities between Marcus me and our journeys were far greater than I had previously supposed And it made me cry to contemplate it Because his story didn't end with him lying in bed wounded That was only the beginning even if it seemed to him like the end of his story and the effective end of his life Like me Marcus lay in bed unable to get up and struggled to find the strength to keep fighting and going on But like me he did keep fighting and did go on His dreams and goals seemed impossible and hopeless but instead of resigning himself never to pursue them he kept striving toward them He could never be a soldier again but he found other important dreams to pursue Even those dreams seemed impossible and would've been for a less determined man But though so many people scorned his goal as unattainable and impossible he pursued it anyway against all odds That's what I'm doing Life does go on even when it seems too difficult It gets easier Like Marcus I'm healing from that illness But like his it hasn't gone away even though it's greatly improved and sometimes it gets worse again as his did However both of us have gone on anyway and refused to let it stop us Marcus was left as a lame man doomed to walk with a limp and feel pain for the rest of his life But he walked again and lived a meaningful life despite injury and hardship And he pursued his impossible dreams which remained despite their revision The young man who at first couldn't walk and could later walk only with difficulty went on his noble and perilous uest anyway tramping through the wilderness lame leg and all in search of the dream he carried from the start And I'm doing the same I'm crippled in a way but I haven't halted even though going on is still difficult Like Marcus I'm healing in spirit and heart as well as in body Like him I'm walking ahead on a long hard road with many obstacles in the way of my journey But like Marcus I'm forging ahead toward my revised dreams anyway against all odds And like him I believe I'll reach my goal even if it still looks impossible and should still be Marcus pursued his dream relentlessly and it paid off as a direct result of that determined pursuit He refused to settle for a mediocre life And although it looked different than he expected in the end his dream was restored when it should have remained dead He reached his goal against all odds when he should logically have failed And as I follow in his footsteps figurative limp and all so will I Until I read this book again just now I had forgotten the unexpected words Marcus says to Esca near the end if I ever noticed them They didn't mean to me before what they mean now and they struck me like they hadn't before piercing straight to my heart Just after the two characters return from their journey Marcus has finally found inner freedom from the inner and outer scars of his crippling wound even though those scars still remain Esca is still inwardly living in the shadow of past slavery and Marcus hurts to see it and urges him to let it go Marcus tells Esca that neither of them can let their scars define them They can't live their lives under the shadow of the deep wounds of the past They must forge on as free men not living as slaves to the hurts they went through Those words of truth are for me as much as for Marcus and Esca and they help me and mean the world to me as I'm sure they have for many others Hearing that message from a character I look up to and through Marcus his author helps me as I strive to do just that Like Marcus I refuse to let those things define me Like him I'm pressing on in freedom and overcoming my own obstacles striving toward my dreams Right now I'm at the place Marcus was in at the beginning of the final chapter of The Eagle of the Ninth I've gone on to finish with difficulty the next goal ahead of me And now that I have I'm once again face to face with the unknown future that's been in the background this whole time I'm still striving toward my lofty goal and I believe I'll reach it one day but as of now it's still impossible I'm waiting indefinitely for a breakthrough to make those things possible And I believe that my breakthrough will come just as Marcus's did Someday several years from now when I reach the goals that are so close to my heart I will re read The Eagle of the Ninth again and identify with Marcus yet because I'll be in the place he was in at the very end of the book when all his most precious dreams come to fruition I know I'll get there just as he did And as it was for him it will be a sweet and joyful day  The above narrative captures just a small part of why I love The Eagle of the Ninth and what it means to me It is a phenomenal book in every way and there are so many reasons why Here are just a few of many other things I appreciate about this book As with every Sutcliff book the settings and characters of The Eagle of the Ninth pulse with life and color Each character is described in just enough detail to bring him or her vividly to life and each one feels like a real person the reader is acuainted with The settings are achingly gorgeous the high mist crowned mountain crags the rushing breeze and golden sunshine on the green of the garden the shimmering ripples of the highland lochs the foam white sprays of blossoms on branches the deep gold of the lamplight on the walls and the scarlet and purple sunset shining on the hills Each place is so immediate and real that I feel as if I can smell feel see and taste each living detail and the beauty fills my heart to the point of bursting Marcus He's such a wonderful character and though I love so many of the others in this book he's my favorite Marcus kind compassionate caring sympathetic and understanding He is full of character wisdom maturity skill valiance and keen instinct yet he's young and doubts his own abilities – and he's not perfect by any means He has such strength of character and leadership that his soldiers and his friends would follow him anywhere and they prove it by doing so I find it endearing that he becomes stiffly proud and arrogant when he feels vulnerable and uncomfortable yet is truly humble underneath and in reality He's a stickler for honor but he cares far about the honor of his empire and especially his father than about his own honor He's not aware of his own humility and the story is from his perspective so it's never stated in the narrative; rather his deep unassuming humility shows in his words and actions He is stubborn determined and immovable pursuing his cause and what's right no matter what refusing to give up no matter the odds And it pays off when he overcomes the worst odds going to great lengths for the eagle and refusing to settle for life as an invalid He is unflinchingly selflessly coolly recklessly purposefully and sacrificially brave Even and especially when he's terrified he is still strong and courageous even when it means facing down and enduring death or excruciating pain As for the other characters I could go on and on about them too especially Cottia and Esca But I shall be brief I love Cottia's ueenlike poise and grace and the fierce and fiery spirit that matches her flaming hair and causes Marcus to call her You little vixen than once I love Esca's loyalty to Marcus his courage that is every bit as great as Marcus's own his slow grave smile his fighting spirit and the wildness about him that can never be fully tamed I love Uncle Auila and the way he cares about and advocates for Marcus and the others while pretending to be grumpy while all the while his big heart shines through from beneath I love Cub's refusal to be parted from Marcus his wild exuberant joy each time he is reunited with his young master and the way he comforts and stands by Marcus when he needs it most And I love how even the minor characters are interesting complex and often endearing I appreciate Centurion Drusillus Guern the Hunter and Marcus's father who are wonderful even though they have less time on the page Even Marcus's enemies are almost likeable and even Aunt Valeria is bursting with personality  One of my favorite things about this book is the portrayal of friendships Marcus is lonely desolate and friendless for part of the book but in a seuence of providential events he gains three close and loyal friends who are each totally devoted to him in their own way With Esca Marcus shares a deep and brotherly bond that motivates Esca to let down his guard care for Marcus and walk into unimaginable danger and threat of death alongside his friend Instead of the bondage of a slave following his master Esca follows Marcus as a devoted friend even when he's free to do otherwise As for Cottia I love her friendship with Marcus as well than I can put into words I love how Marcus understands her fights for her laughs with her and takes care of her and how Cottia supports him brightens his dim world and waits many months for his return among so much else Then there's Cub as faithful a canine friend as any man could wish for with devotion and loyalty eual to Esca's The four of them bring light and laughter to each other's worlds Marcus reaches out to each of them in turn and earns each of their loyalty He helps them when they need it most and in return they help him when he himself is most in need What I love most about each friendship is how each of the three chooses Marcus when they could leave and be parted from him – and none of the three can imagine or bear the thought of parting They each separately choose to follow him be united with him and remain devoted to him when they have a choice between that and the alternative and that's beautiful to me The story has a surprisingly large amount of wit and humor and it made me laugh out loud often Marcus's narration is often sarcastic ironic or hilariously biting especially his mental commentary on other people and he laughs at himself as well The banter and clever dialogue the characters exchange is humorous and delightful and even in the midst of danger the characters exchange light or grim jokes And the comical portrayal of Marcus's alias Demetrius of Alexandria had me laughing throughout one funny scene The themes are beautiful and profound worked subtly naturally and meaningfully throughout with the skilled hand of a true master as is the case with everything about Sutcliff's works Among the deep themes are sacrifice loyalty leadership hope healing; honor and shame; courage and fear; freedom and bondage; and life and death I'm amazed at how Sutcliff portrays each character sympathetically and with complexity – human and not either black or white as real people are Even each Marcus's enemies were also friends first And a few of the good characters aren't totally good But as each of us must in the real world the main characters still pursue what they believe is right and I love that Sutcliff also truthfully portrays warring cultures as neither good nor evil – even though they may technically be enemies there are friendships across the barriers of culture I love that Marcus learns to see other characters as people not on the basis of nationality or other difference between them – and that he's willing to learn it Even though his allegiance is to Rome he grows to understand the British culture – and he eventually transfers his home and allegiance to Roman Britain And of course I could go on and on The Eagle of the Ninth is an amazing book and it's a lasting favorite of mine for good reason It will always remain one of the best books I've ever read and it only grows wonderful to me as time goes on It's also stood the test of time through many decades with readers who have gone before me and I know it will always remain a classic by way of its great uality You're missing out if you haven't read it so go read it if you haven't It's a wonderful read for anyone who loves young adult adventure or historical fiction – and is just as good if you don't And if you have read it before or are a fan I hope you'll appreciate it or be motivated to read it again As for me I look forward to re reading The Eagle of the Ninth again and again and seeing it even deeply each time – along with my own life and self as a result As I've dug deeper into the book this time I know I've by no means exhausted the truth heart and meaning it contains for me personally and in general and I look forward to discovering yet when I read it yet again someday

  7. Joanne Harris Joanne Harris says:

    I loved this book dearly as a child and it has lost none of its magic now Beautifully written discreetly poetic without a single word out of place it's a thrilling adventure an excellently researched piece of historical fiction and a fabulous depiction of friendship all in one Read it at any age and marvel at the pacing; the gradual build up the terrific characterization the breathless race to the final climax Sutcliff brings Roman Britain to life as no one else has ever done; and her novel is touching absorbing and uietly haunting until long after the final page has been turned

  8. Sarah Sarah says:

    In 117 ADCE the Ninth Legion of the Roman Army marched into the mists of Caledonia the land known today as Scotland They were never seen againThe standard bearer of the Legio IX Hispana who held aloft the golden eagle as they marched was the father of our hero Marcus Flavius Auila Marcus was a lad of twelve years when his father vanished Now a young adult eager to prove his mettle Marcus himself serves as a Roman officer in Britain He is discharged after a grievous battle wound that gives him a slight limp While recuperating in the house of his uncle Marcus has nothing but downtime in which to ponder the fate of his father and the standard he carried into the Caledonian mists He also forms three fast friendships The first is with Esca a young Briton whom Marcus purchased as a manservant slave to save him from the gladiator fights The second is with an orphaned wolf cub named simply Cub whom Esca adopted when on a hunting excursion that killed Cub’s mother The third is with Cottia a British girl being unwillingly raised as a Roman by the family next doorWhen he has sufficiently recovered Marcus accompanied only by Esca decides to go north beyond the wall of Britannia and follow the trail of the Ninth Legion into Celtic lands unknown His intent to bring back the Eagle and restore the honor of his father’s LegionContent Advisory Violence There’s a gladiator combat where men and beasts are slain although Sutcliff spares us the worst of the gore There’s also a battle seuence that focuses on Marcus’ state of mind than the carnage around him Another battle towards the end of the book has minimal bloodshed Sex Marcus nicknames Cottia a little vixen This is a reference to her red hair and ferocity but he probably also calls her that because he finds her rather well Language Nothing Substance Abuse Everybody drinks wine and beer because the water back then was a sanitation hazard Nightmare Fuel The Celtic Feast of New Spears features some rituals that could be rather frightening to younger kids including men prancing about wearing dead animals the emblems of their clans on their heads The being here called the Horned Hunter also known as Cernunnos or Herne has a strange presence in the book—the main characters don’t believe in him per se but almost fear that he might spring on them as they go about their task—and he’s kind of spooky even though he never materializes ConclusionsThis is my first Sutcliff book and my only complaint is that somehow I did not find out about this book’s existence until recently Ah well Better late than never What an outstanding novel Nearly every aspect of it is perfect The characters have such vibrancy and depth especially Marcus and Esca Marcus unlike most young Roman men in fiction is a gracious and humble fellow who cares so deeply for the honor of his father and people but thinks nothing of his own pride and even lifeEsca is uiet observant loyal and deep The way the lads develop over their journey is amazing from master and servant to brothers in arms They were able to transcend the prejudices of their respective cultures and have one of the strongest literary friendships I’ve ever seenThese two are the main focus but the supporting cast is wonderful too Guern is particularly lovable Tradui is intriguing and Tribune Placidus is just one of those smarmy little pseudo villains that one loves to hate Cottia reminds me a bit of Éowyn with her desperate desire for freedom not to mention her penchant for standing in the wind with her bright hair billowing out from under her cloak My only complaint with her is that she should have been in of the story But Roman society in those days kept men and women apart most of the time The only way unfortunately that Cottia or any other girl could have participated in an adventure like this one is by disguising herself as a boy which wouldn’t have worked in this case anyway because Marcus and Esca would have recognized her instantly Cub is a delight the fiercest of all hunters yet the doggiest of dogs who nearly starved himself to death when his master had to leave him behind and greeted him with a flurry of tail wagging and slobbery kisses when he finally came home The desolation and ferocity of Roman Britannia is the baseline of the story and Sutcliff paints the environs richly with her well chosen words The only way to make the moors the old forests and the Lowlands even forlorn than usual is to step back to this ancient era—before Heathcliff and Catherine before Macbeth and the three witches before even King Arthur rose from the ashes of Rome and Druidism The few settlements are lonely little lights in the mist And as you can imagine the people living in those settlements are rather nervous Rome is far away and reinforcements take a while to reach the lime cliff shores of Britain A fell sweep of northern Celtic tribes could push the Romans back into the sea Even the gladiator fights which were aggressively festive events in Rome itself are portrayed here as being nearly as nerve wracking for the viewers as for the combatants Sutcliff masterfully evokes the tension and dread that the Roman colonists must have lived with on a daily basis With all the Biblical fiction I’ve been reading lately it’s interesting to see how the Western and Eastern frontiers of the Empire paralleled each other The Celts and the Judeans had nothing culturally in common beyond their fierce independence and both lands seethed against their overlords This was a thoroughly enjoyable book I’m hugely impressed with Sutcliff’s storytelling ability and I can’t wait to read the adventures of Marcus and Cottia’s descendents PS A movie based on this book came out a few years ago starring Channing Tatum as Marcus and Jamie Bell as Esca It looks like a highly enjoyable film in its own right and I could easily picture those two actors as the heroes of the story However I’m annoyed that the movie appears to have written Cottia and Cub out of the story entirely and the subplot about Esca view spoilerturning on Marcus and enslaving him hide spoiler

  9. Hannah Hannah says:

    Rating Clarification 45 StarsMy first Rosemary Sutcliff book but it will not be my last This tale of Roman Britain and the lost Ninth Legion brings the reader into a fully imagined yet realistic world in which honor and duty are sacrosanct and the meeting of two cultures can be either a time of mutual respect or bloody conflict and distrust Sutcliff is one darn brilliant writer of characters and settings I could fully picture the time period the people and the atmosphere It rang true and nothing seemed out of sync or out of periodOverall it did surprise me how good this book was I mean exceptionally good I don't think I've enjoyed a YA novel since Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games there are no similarities between the two books except that both are well written and hard to put downAlthough written primarily for a YA audience back in the mid 1950's Sutcliff doesn't hesitate to challenge her readers with terms and phrases they might not understand heck who am I kidding it was a challenge for me at times Very probably young readers of the 50's were well read and grounded in history then I wasThis is a story I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to young and old alike Although boys might find a greater appreciation for the story I feel it crosses age and gender lines as wellAnd imagine my surprise and delight to find that the 2011 movie The Eagle is based on this novel Now I've got to go put this on my Netflix ueue to see if the film makers did the book justice Probably not but hey Jamie Bell is in it

  10. Nicky Nicky says:

    This book is fully as good as I remember That's a lot to say for a book that I adored from the age of eight until about fourteen reread at seventeen ish and then haven't read for a few years In my head it was always one of the most amazing books of my childhood and my memory didn't overstate it It is written for children so it's very easy to read and perhaps a little less than subtle in places particularly with foreshadowing Little did he know how important this piece of information was going to become sort of thingBut Marcus and Esca are still the bright real characters I remember I always loved the parts that show the bond between them the friendship that transcends the initial fact of Esca's slavery In fact reading it again it kind of amazed me how strong their friendship was realistic yes and with boundaries but strong I can picture both of them as characters down to the way they move can almost hear their voices Part of that is years of imagination as a child but I wouldn't have bothered if I didn't have good material to work onIt's been a while since I did Classics and longer since I learnt anything about the Roman occupation of Britain but I think the historical details are reasonably accurate too I like the development of the two mysteries the entombed Roman Eagle and the disappearance of the HispanaOne thing I did notice was similarities in description and ideas to The Capricorn Bracelet which I read for the first time last week That was a little disappointingEdit Reread again because I'll be getting the rest of this series for Christmas Each book stands alone I gather certainly The Eagle of the Ninth does in any case with no trailing plotlines left behind but I wanted to revisit a childhood favourite and this made an excellent excuseFor some reason the moment that sticks in my mind right now is when Esca tells Marcus he saw the march of the ill fated Hispana to where they fell and Marcus replies that his father's crest was the scarlet hackle next after the eagle

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