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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just For Youngsters
Because Rosemary Sutcliff is known as a childrens writer it might be assumed this is a book/trilogy just for children. It is NOT,it will appeal to all ages. I am 68 and the writing and story as good as Iggulden or Scarrow all of whose books I have.
Published on 14 April 2011 by DavidK

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
The Eagle is great, the two sequels less so
Published 9 months ago by Tom Burchell


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just For Youngsters, 14 April 2011
Because Rosemary Sutcliff is known as a childrens writer it might be assumed this is a book/trilogy just for children. It is NOT,it will appeal to all ages. I am 68 and the writing and story as good as Iggulden or Scarrow all of whose books I have.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles, 10 Sept. 2010
This book is fantastic.
I have been a fan of the Eagle of the Ninth story since it was dramatised on Radio 4 back in 1996 and have listened to it on and off since then. I never thought to read the book until I realised the radio version was waaaay to short for my liking.
This book comprises The Eagle of the Ninth, the Silver Branch and the Lantern Bearers, three stories set in the same universe.

I would recommend that anybody planning to go and see the new movie adaptation of 'The Eagle of the Ninth' read the book first as the story is amazing. Testament to Rosemary Sutcliff's writing prowess.
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An outstanding trilogy, 28 Mar. 2011
By 
Ben Kane (Nr Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
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This compendium would be an excellent addition to anyone's collection. It's made up of three loosely linked books - the first, The Eagle of the Ninth, is Sutcliff's most famous work, and is currently the subject of a film adaptation, The Eagle. It's the story of an injured and embittered young centurion, Marcus Flavius Aquila, who takes on an impossible quest - to find the lost eagle standard of his father's legion, lost many years before in the wilds of Scotland. It's a stirring tale of bravery, honour and the search for redemption against overwhelming odds, and it has entranced generations of readers from "eight to eighty eight".

While The Silver Branch, the second book, is an excellent read, it is not in quite the same league as the first story. Set about 150 years later, it concerns two cousins, both members of the same family as the hero of The Eagle of then Ninth. The tale also takes place in Britain, at a time when the emperorship of Rome had become a commodity to be fought over. Again the themes of loyalty, honour and aiming for a brighter future stand out, as do Sutcliff's wonderful descrptions of Roman Britain.

The Lantern Bearers is the last book, and in my mind, it is the best. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, an extremely prestigious award, it is by far the most rich in character development. The main protagonist is Aquila, a young Roman soldier, and a member of the same family as those who featured in the first two books. Deserting the legions as they abandon Britain to its fate (in AD 410), he enters the service of Ambrosius, a charismatic Roman leader whose aim it is to save the island from the waves of Saxon and Jute invaders. The story carries the reader through nearl 20 years of warfare, and is a joy to read. One of the other characters, Artos (a nod to the mythical figure of Arthur) also features in another Sutcliff book, the highly regarded Sword at Sunset.

Ben Kane, author of The Forgotten Legion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to have a wider audience, 4 Jan. 2012
The Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles is not as well known as it could be for two reasons. First, it is often relegated to the "childrens' literature" shelves, but this is just as good as an adult read. In fact, some of the language is quite flowery and this would only be a suitable book for good child readers. Second, most people are only aware of the first book of the trilogy - The Eagle of the Ninth - especially since it has been made into a Hollywood film. There are two other books. The Silver Branch is the weakest of the three, while The Lantern Bearers is just as good as Eagle - if not better. Recommended for children with an interest in history and a decent level of reading, and for adults who fancy something a little different.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Old Friend!!, 6 Dec. 2010
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I first read the Eagle of The Ninth when I was about 8-9 in the late 60s, I loved the story then and read all the rest of Rosemary Sutcliffe's novels. I continue to enjoy similar stories and Simon Scarrow's Macro and Cato novels are a modern equivalent. I introduced my now grown-up daughter to the book, she too loves it and has read 2 copies to death!! I don't think referring to the 2 later books as being "set in the same Universe" is very helpful - these books are not fantasy, they are set in our Universe in Roman times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book - Eagle of the Ninth (EOTN) - this should be made into a film!!!, 21 July 2013
By 
E. Hay - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Eagle of the Ninth Collection Boxed Set (Paperback)
I've not yet read the other books in the collection, only 'The Eagle' : after a fairly lengthy start and slow build-up, the plot ensues and becomes captivating.

Teens might be most suited to this book rather than younger children; not because of the content, but because of the complexity of necessary historical concepts introduced of the reading and thus patience and reading ability required to maintain focus. That is not to say that it this not very well written.

It appears to me that it is oriented towards boys, although girls will still enjoy it, but it differs greatly from the more romanticised disposition of say Caroline Lawrence's Roman Mysteries series, of which I suggest that boys might find it almost cloyingly feministic, if they are perceptive - I cannot imagine patriarchal empire to have been so effeminate, contrary to EOTN, which is masculine hard-as-nails adventure, but without being overtly violent, although it has its own glint at romance.

The book is also historically insightful, and a fascinating peek at Roman-British society, although it is as ever remarkable how seldom our all too familiar British inclement weather features or obstructs the proceedings - maybe it was never as much so in the good old days.

There are some tense moments that have one barely daring to keep a hold of the book. This story would make an excellent film, with just a little similarity to Braveheart I imagine, but significantly lower budget.

Looking forward to taking time to read the other books in the collection and for my children to grow up a little more to be able read them!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I had to ration my reading, 14 Feb. 2013
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This is the first time I have given five stars in a book review. All the more surprising since it is not the sort of thing that I would normally choose to read. But, I downloaded a sample onto my Kindle and got hooked. Quite apart from the authors obvious historical knowledge, she masterfully crafts characters that come alive and story lines that are compelling. I had to ration my reading to avoid devouring the book too quickly and I was sorry when I reached the end.
The story line describes what happened to the people in Britain when the Roman Empire fell and the Roman Legions left. This is a long book comprising three separate stories covering the lives of several generations of a family that initially came to the country as Romans and became British through marriage and by spending most (or all) of their lives in the British Isles.
The first book is about a young Roman officer who is severely wounded in battle and is forced to retire before he has any retirement benefits (land grants, pension etc.). His only recourse is to stay with a Roman Uncle who is already resident (by choice) in England. This leads to an adventure in which he and a native British man (former gladiator, then slave and finally friend) go an a quest to find the ‘Lost Eagle’ banner of his father’s Lost Legion that went many years before into the North and was never heard from again.
In the Second book, Britain is on the very fringe of the Roman Empire, which has become riddled with corruption and internal plotting. The two main characters are cousins, also in the Roman Legion, who are posted together and become close friends. They fight against the threat of internecine plotting as well as the barbarian Saxons who are raiding along the coast. During their adventures, they discover the Lost Eagle that their kinsman recovered from the Northern barbarians many years before. They use the eagle as a banner to unite a rag tag resistance against the growing threat of the barbarian Saxons.
The final book is about the next generation of the family who are present in Britain when the last Roman Legion leaves. It recounts the life of young Aquila who is a Roman soldier born in Britain. When his Legion leaves, he deserts his post to return to his family in the South of England. However, with the Legions gone there is no longer any protection against the Saxon raiders and he is taken captive in a barbarian raid. After living for three years as a slave in Jutland, he finally escapes while in Britain. The story then revolves around his life as he helps to unite the remnants of the British Romans with the native British tribes in order to fight the ever-encroaching Saxon invaders.
In all three books, the author masterfully weaves together the thread’s of daily life as the characters evolve and develop against the background of historical turmoil. Even minor characters are colourful and realistic and their stories are neatly and satisfyingly integrated into the larger plot. The author’s clear appreciation of the detail and beauty of British flora and fauna provides a sharp contrast to the macrocosm of historical upheaval that is underway.
From an educational perspective, this book resulted in my first real comprehension of the stark contrast between Roman civilisation and the subsequent Dark Ages in Europe. This book convincingly recounts what happened to ordinary people when the organised and stable system of Roman justice, law and control were demolished. Having read the short biography of the late author, Rosemary Sutcliff, I am even more full of admiration at her ability to create such a realistic, compelling and haunting historical adventure novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three great stories in one, 19 April 2013
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Most people of a certain age will be familiar with the first book in this trilogy - the eagle of the ninth. It has been dramatised for TV on more than one occasion, and been made into a (not very good) film in recent years.
Often thought of as children's books, there is nothing that really makes them so, and they are just as enthralling for readers of all ages.
The three books, each set about 150 years apart, are loosely linked, but you don't need to have read one to appreciate the others. They are well written, and the story moves along quite briskly, more so than they generally would if they were written today. There is a sparseness to the writing which places it in it's time (the books were written in the 1950's), but which is not in any way off-putting.
If you like historical fiction, then these three books are probably the best set in Roman Britain, so buy and enjoy!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb, 25 Oct. 2011
Rosemary Sutcliff, in this trilogy is far too good and subtle a writer to be consigned to the ghetto of children's literature. All three books explore the theme of what it means to be a Roman in Britain, and the slow move from being a Roman with strong ties to Britain in the first book, to being a Roman who's loyalty to Roman ways and Rome strongly depends on how good Rome is for Britain in the second book, to a Roman who when push comes to shove, and Rome abandons Britain, discovers that he has actually become British and so abandons Rome.

Sutcliff's characterisation is subtle and complex, battle scenes serve a valid narrative purpose and her plotting is highly believable. I cannot reccomend this highly enough.

Oh, by the by, steer well clear of The Eagle (the film version). Devoid of all subleties, moral ambiguities and taking liberties with the plot it is hugely dissapointing after the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as Robert Graves, 30 Oct. 2013
By 
K. Wright (Edinburgh, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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I had never read any Rosemary Sutcliff before I read this with my son. How could the adults in my life have allowed this to happen?

I feel about her writing the way I feel about that of Hilary Mantel or Joseph Conrad: it's perfect. The breadth of Rosemary Sutcliff's amazing and sympathetic imagination is entirely matched by the economical effectiveness of her prose. I particularly love her descriptions of landscape and the natural environment, they so perfectly evoke the beautiful wildness of dark-age Britain.

If you have kids, buy these books for them. If you don't have kids then buy them anyway and then lose yourself in them. Just get these books: you won't regret it.
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The Eagle of the Ninth Collection Boxed Set
The Eagle of the Ninth Collection Boxed Set by Rosemary Sutcliff (Paperback - 4 Oct. 2012)
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