The Eagle of the Ninth | Rosemary Sutcliff | Library of Libation review

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David Urbach (a ‘liker’ over at Rosemary Sutcliff’s Facebook page  – do join him and click the like button there!) alerted me to a 10/10 review by someone he considers “perceptive”,  of Rosemary Sutcliff‘s classic of historical fiction and children’s literature, The Eagle of the Ninth. It makes interesting reading, and I am intrigued to learn of the reaction of others who know Rosemary’s work well.  

Rosemary Sutcliff’s most famous book ought to be looked at in two different ways, and judged on two levels. Firstly, any reader venturing into historical fiction will be instantly drawn to it as a deserving classic. Every word of praise afforded Eagle of the Ninth is surely deserved, and every criticism should be scrutinised heavily. This book is not only a simple story; it is a revelation. It is a sudden meeting between the children’s and young adults’ fiction of the ’80s and ’90s, when children’s literature began to be taken seriously; and literature from the early twentieth century and the nineteenth century, when writers felt able to wax philosophic and lyrical, and were not so concerned with spending a hundred pages on diligently establishing a scene and building meticulously to a grand climax or a cheap twist.

One comment

  1. I have to say re David’s comment about Marcus and Cottia’s romance coming as a deus ex machina-style surprise thrown in at the end, that although the friendship between Marcus and Cottia is more peripheral than say, that of Freya and Bjorn in “Shield Ring”, there is always right from the start an implicit understanding (in my opinion, anyway) that their friendship will in time lead to marriage.

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