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A good tale but a rather dull telling
on 25 July 2013
I hadn't read any Rosemary Sutcliffe for at least 45 years so was curious to see how well her work had lasted. For this aging reader at least, there are no problems on that score.
This book explores the moment of the struggles of the native Britons to defend themselves against Anglo-Saxon invaders following the withdrawal of the Romans, whose presence Sutcliffe wrote about so effectively in 'the Eagle of the Ninth' series. The narrative is strong and the central character, Owain, is engagingly drawn. The adult reader has to make few compromises, though I confess I found her style rather dull and the dialogue over-declamatory, which for me tends to subvert the realism of the story. Would it appeal to a young reader today? Not sure: I suspect the pleasures the younger me found in these books so long ago, action, adventure in a place so historically distant that there is almost a fantasy feel to it, may be more readily discovered elsewhere.