The Eagle of the Ninth - Book Review
The author talks in her Foreword of putting two historical events together – one the loss of the ninth legion, two the finding of a wingless Roman eagle in England. The combination sparked her imagination and created a story richly woven with historical insight/understanding.
I was surprised how long it took me to get in to the book. The writing felt quite dense for a children’s book – it may be that 30 years have changed what I consider easy reading, for I do not remember struggling with it decades ago... However, once I was engaged with the story I found that the book flowed, that I was wanting to find out what happened next. I was happy that I managed to read the book in a couple of days – had I taken longer I might have missed some of the echoes/references to previous parts of the story.
The Eagle of the Ninth was serialised on radio a couple of years after publication. There was also a television adaption made in 1977. The film “The Eagle” opened in the US in February 2011, with a UK release date of March 2011. My initial research on the film suggests that, as is so often the case, the film has taken liberties with the original text and in doing so tells a story that does not fully follow the novel’s plot.
If this story interests you I would urge you to explore more of Rosemary Sutcliffe’s work. There are several books associated with Roman Britain and a ring that travels through generations including “The Silver Branch”, “The Lantern Bearers” and “Sword at Sunset”.
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