Anne, a regular reader and commenter of this blog, as well as Google, has pointed me towards n a fascinating article which builds upon the impact on her of the work of Rosemary Sutcliff, Manda Scott (who has been hailed by The Times as ‘one of Britain’s most important crime writers’; and who like Rosemary Sutcliff has written of Romans and Boudica) reflects in The Independent newspaper on the ‘power and pleasure of epic fiction’.
I was eight years old when I read The Eagle of the Ninth, but it opened doors that have never closed. I was captivated not so much by Marcus Aquila and his quest for the lost eagle of his father’s legion, but by Esca, the captured Briton, and the barbarian tribes that lived north of Hadrian’s Wall. They were wild, savage and magical; they spoke to seals, to horses, to hounds and conducted shamanic ceremonies that were closed to outsiders. I was an outsider and hated being so.