The Mark of the Horse Lord about Phaedrus, a gladiator in second century Britain, was one of The Eagle of the Ninth author Rosemary Sutcliff’s many award-winning historical novels and children’s books. Blogger Liz B, who ‘like Buffy’ just wants ‘a chair, a fireplace, a tea cozy, and to talk about stories’ invites us to ‘pull up a chair, have a cup of tea’ and love the
… non stop action. Chapter One, we get a mother’s suicide, gladiator fights, freedom; Chapter Two, a drunk night on the town resulting in fights, stabbings, and fire; Chapter Three is prison and the Midir plan. There’s barely a place for Phaedrus or the reader to breathe. Yet, within all that action, Sutcliff includes many details about the second century Britain.
Liz Be loved the detailed writing.
‘Phaedrus’s mother had used the slim native hunting dagger that had served Ulixes as a papyrus knife; but there was not much blood because she had stabbed herself under the breast, not cut her wrists as a Roman woman would have done’. In one sentence, (Rosemary) Sutcliff ‘tells us how Phaedrus’s mother killed herself, also revealing how the native and Roman cultures mixed yet did not mix.
Source: Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy: The Mark of the Horse Lord.