Legacy of Rosemary Sutcliff and The Eagle of the Ninth | Sandcastle or Temple to Mithras?

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.

Source: Classics in Short No.80

Author: Anthony Lawton

Chair, Sussex Dolphin, family company which looks after the work of eminent children’s & historical fiction author Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-92). Formerly CEO, chair & trustee of various charity, cultural & educational enterprises in UK.

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