9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
This slim book is not a novel but a collection of short stories; apparently they have their origins in a set of scripts Miss Sutcliff wrote for radio broadcast. They are aimed at a juvenile audience, and demonstrate her usual ability to immerse the reader in the cirumstances and attitudes of an unfamiliar world.
Each story is independent of the others, and together they span the whole half milennium for which the Romans were in Britain. Just as Marcus' emerald ring links Miss Sutcliff's other Romano-British novels with the "Eagle of the Ninth", so these stories are linked by the individual protagonists' possession of the (increasingly battered} Capricorn bracelet. Note: we are not talking jewellery here; the bracelet is the equivalent of a Legion "For Gallantry" medal.
I have given a relatively low score simply because these stories are relatively slight. Whilst most of Rosemary Sutcliff's hildren's novels can be enjoyed by an adult audience as well, this one is probably of interest only to children. However, these tales are less bleak than some of her writing, and so might prove a good introduction to her vivid style for a younger audience.
That said, I still chuckled heartily over the tale of the new, young officer in the auxiliaries!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A collection of six short stories on Roman Britain, from the sack of Londinium by Boudicca (AD 61) to the Roman Legions leaving (AD 383), linked by a 'for valour' bracelet issued to the first 'hero'. They are mostly set in the Borders area, and mostly involve army officers; they are short and to the point, and that is a bit of a drawback. Sutcliff is so very good in most of her longer stories, and while there are many glimpses of that brilliant quality, the small scope of a short story is a bit constricting, I think. Still, it *is* Sutcliff, and so pretty good nonetheless!
Would make good reading for someone not very much into reading; or for someone who loves her stories in whatever shape they come, like me!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2013
I read this the first time when I was eight. Together with 'Eagle of the Ninth'. My family regretted it ever after, as it started my love affair with the Romans. Books like these are essential to remind us that at the focus point of history should be people.