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The Eagle of The Ninth [Paperback]

Rosemary Sutcliff
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

7 Oct 2004
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. The book is also now the subject of a major film.

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The Eagle of The Ninth + The Silver Branch (Eagle of the Ninth) + The Lantern Bearers (Eagle of the Ninth)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; 2004 Edition edition (7 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192753924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192753922
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,861 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)

'These tales of Roman Britain have yet to be surpassed for their non-patronising prose and adult dangers. Sutcliff makes Classics and archaeology uniquely thrilling for children.' (Amanda Craig, The Times)

'A beautifully written and exciting tale of a young man's mission to save the reputation of his dead father' (Simon Scarrow, Big Issue)

Great stuff that should not be forgotten! (amie Thomson, Big Issue in Scotland)

Book Description

Can Marcus solve the mystery of the missing Ninth Legion?

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
85 of 87 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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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another world 11 April 2011
Format:Audio CD
It gives me quite a strange sensation to read all these great reviews. Not that I'm not thrilled that so many people appreciate Rosemary Sutcliff; but somehow when I wrapped myself up in this book as a child, and became as lost in the mists of Roman Caledonia as the Ninth Hispana was (or wasn't, depending which historian you believe, but who cares?) I never could have dreamt that I was not totally alone there with Marcus and was my own book, and my own secret, haunted world! I grew up in the fells near the Scottish Border, which strengthened the hold the book had immeasurably. Just the mere title was powerful enough on its own, -"The Eagle of the Ninth", what a shiver that sent down the spine.... I couldn't believe it when the film-makers changed it to the characterless "The Eagle". So far I've chickened out of going to see the film. It's just impossible, however good it might be, that it could ever live up to the book.
The twentieth century produced three truly great writers of historical fiction - Mary Renault, Patrick O'Brian and Rosemary Sutcliff. All three had that vanishingly rare gift, to step entirely out of the constraints of their own time and into another. However, there is NO book like The Eagle of the Ninth.
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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 15 days ago by R. N. Stell
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good Book
Published 17 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 21 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 1 month 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 1 month ago by Gill M
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month 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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