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The Eagle of the Ninth [Paperback]

Rosemary Sutcliff
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Mar 2000
One of Rosemary Sutcliff's acclaimed books set in Roman Britain. The Eagle of the Ninth tells the story of a young Roman officer who sets out to discover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of the Ninth Legion, who marched into the mists of northern Britain and never came back. Rosemary Sutcliff spent most of her life in a wheelchair, suffering from the wasting Still's disease. She wrote her first book for children, The Queen's Story, in 1950 and went on to become a highly respected name in the field of children's literature. She received an OBE in 1975 and died at the age of 72 in 1992.

Product details

  • Paperback: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New edition edition (9 Mar 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192750453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192750457
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 786,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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. 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 children's literature. Rosemary received an OBE in the 1975 Birthday Honours List.

Rosemary Sutcliff's novels about Roman Britain have won much critical acclaim. The best-known of these is her The Eagle of the Ninth trilogy, of which the second book in the trilogy, The Lantern Bearers, was awarded the 1959 Carnegie Medal.

Sadly, Rosemary died in 1992 at the age of 72.

Product Description


'Decades later, I can still hear echoes of The Eagle of the Ninth in my head: the chink of mail, the tired beat of the legionaries' feet.' (The Independent)

'What a splendid story it is, compulsive reading!' (Junior Bookshelf) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Book Description

Age: 10+ --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why isn't six stars possible? 11 Aug 2009
I have to declare a vested interest from the outset. Eagle of the Ninth was one of the first historical fiction books I can remember reading as a child, and it instilled in me a great love of all things Roman. When wanting to change career from that of a veterinarian to a writer, Eagle of the Ninth helped inspire me to write Roman fiction.

Quite simply, this, in my opinion, is one of the best historical fiction books ever written. Suitable for all ages from 8 or so upwards, it is a stirring read about the pursuit of honour in the face of great danger. Thoroughly recommended.

Ben Kane, author of The Forgotten Legion.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The book starts by following the career of a young Roman soldier, Marcus, who has been posted to Britain. After his ambitions are shattered, he finds warmth from some unexpected friendships and is called upon to undertake a great adventure when his life appeared to be over. His task, to save Roman rule in Britain, solve the mystery of the missing 9th legion and most importantly, salvage his father's honour.
This book is a fantastic adventure story, moving and vividly imaginative. I first read it aged about 8 and have reread it every few years ever since. I think it moves me more each time I reread it. The writing is simple but beautiful. The starkness of life in those times is not ignored but it is also a celebration of friendship. Very highly recommended.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Western set in Roman Britain 2 Mar 2009
For once the advertising hype is spot on. This book is indeed one of the outstanding childrens books of the last century. But that is to do it a great injustice for it is also a magnificent read for adults. This edition celebrates the books 50th anniversary and it remains as fresh as ever. Rosemary Sutcliff's 1st editions are still sought by enthusiastic collectors for very good reason. Her books provide the bench mark for historical writing. The recent writings covering Roman Britain by Simon Scarrow are very enjoyable but pale in comparison to "The Eagle of the Ninth".

The story concerns a young man who travels North beyond Hadrians wall deep into Caledonia as the Romans knew Scotland, to try and find out the fate of his Fathers lost legion and extinguish the dishonour to him, and more importantly his Father as a result of this event. This is based on a true event, when the Ninth Roman "Hispanic" Legion whose first commander was Julius Caesar himself, dissapeared into the mists of Scotland never to be heard of again. With the aid of a native ally rescued from the gladatorial arena, he disguises himself as a travelling occulist and ventures into the Pictish "Heart of Darkness". The picts were a terrifying enemy to take on in their own mountain fastness as the Hispanic found to their cost. To succeed he needs to bring home the Legions Eagle from its new nest of Vipers. Will he succeed against incredible odds for the sake of his Fathers honour.

The book is well written as it always is from Sutcliff. Her flowing prose and enthusiasm for her subject always full to brimming. The action never lets up. The book reads very much as a Western adventure and could easily be transferred to this genre.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous book, and you learn some history 14 Aug 2007
By Me
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Eagle of the Ninth is a tremendous tale, based round the genuine mystery of the Ninth legion, lost in Britain in the 2nd century AD. A young centurion and his servant, a celt, travel north of Hadrian's Wall to try and discover what became of the legion. There's mystery and fighting, but it's also a story about friendship and trust. Rosemary Sutcliff has written many excellent historical novels for children, but this is one of her best.

I have to be honest and admit I haven't heard this recording. I would give it 5 stars as the story is so good but it just can't be as good as the BBC full cast dramatisation, sadly only available on a double tape (ISBN 0-563-38920-6) which has been listened to countless times by my youngest (from ages 6-8) and 2 or 3 times by the rest of us (now aged 43, 42, 12 and 10) in the car. Only my daughter (10) isn't that keen to hear it again.

One note of caution, Amazon claims this to be suitable for ages 4-8. I'd have thought that under 6s would struggle listening to it and it most suitable for over 10s to read it to themselves.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly tremendous book 28 Mar 2001
By Mrs. K. A. Wheatley TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Why has nobody made a film of this book? It seems a gross oversight to me. This is Gladiator only on English soil. It has all the key ingredients, love, treachery, loyalty, friendship, destiny and a great historical background. I love the fact that the book is based on a real incident. It is well written and really pacy in style. The characters are strong and the atmosphere Sutcliff manages to evoke as the hero and his sidekick wander further from the "civilised" land they know is wonderful, tense and creepy. I finished this book in one sitting and immediately went and bought the other two in the series. I'm saving them because I shall be gutted when they end.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
A rich and involving Historical yarn makes great use of a mystery surrounding a lost Roman Legion.....Characters are loveable and honour-bound and there are strong, evocative descriptions of early Britain where the still-prominent Celtic tribes gave grief to the Romans, far from home. The vital forces of friendship, loyalty (crossing divides) and duty breathe from a time that must have required them. For young adults and beyond this book is a great way to understand more about the occupation of early Britain, and the tales from both sides that intermingle through the hero's personal quest.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books ever.
This novel falls into the category of fiction which is so gripping and well-written that one ends up rather hoping that one day the story will be proved to be fact. Read more
Published 5 days ago by R. N. Stell
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good Book
Published 7 days ago by Phill Adams
4.0 out of 5 stars Prompt and reliable, as ever!
Ordered all 3 books in this series and revived a lot of happy memories. All books arrived within specified period, securely packaged.
Published 10 days ago by Mrs Ann Barnard
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful and well-researched book.
"The Eagle of the Ninth" is a wonderful story with a cast of likeable, believable characters and a rich, historical setting. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Trajan
4.0 out of 5 stars with a good feel for the period
Well-written and quite exciting, with a good feel for the period. Hard to know quite what age-range it was aimed at - Sutcliff said 9 to 90 which I guess just about includes me... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Gill M
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 27 days ago by Caroline Brockbank
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly enjoyable read
I purchased this book for my wife, a Rosemary Sutcliffe fan, who has been wanting to read it for some time. She thoroughly enjoyed it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by J L Vayro
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical novel set in Roman Britain
This is the first novel I'v read by Rosemary Sutcliff and it won't be the last. I found it a little slow starting but now I can't put it
down. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Francine Granville
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic story of Roman Britain
This is a classic story of Roman Britain and although archaeology has meant that some of the facts that Rosemary Sutcliff based her story are no longer considered valid (the 9th... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Gordon F Le Pard
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite.
Since I first read this, it has been not only my favourite Sutcliff novel, but the one that resonates to me, almost sixty years after I first read it ( and, still go back to see if... Read more
Published 4 months ago by vm baker
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