Rosemary Sutcliff relished the imagination and creativity of children, as well as readers’ responses to her novels. Writing in Books for Keeps, Brian Alderson, former Children’s Books Editor of The Times, recalled an anecdote which dates from some time after the publication of The Eagle of the Ninth in 1954. Rosemary recounted to a ‘bevy of librarians’:
‘That’s not a sand-castle,’ said the busy child on the beach, ‘I’m building a temple to Mithras’!
He commented that
In all probability the temple-builder’s enthusiasm for the work came from hearing its famed serialisation on ‘Children’s Hour’ but (perhaps unlike television serials) the wireless version sent listeners straight back to the book to get the author’s full-dress narrative to go with the spoken one.