The Eagle of the Ninth lives in its atmosphere. Sutcliff powerfully catches both everyday Roman life and the beauty of ancient Britain. Her use of detail is effective, and her descriptive prose is powerful and suggestive. Reading the book, I was caught again and again by glinting moments of terrible beauty; by her ability to conjure up vistas of ruined fortresses and mist-covered landscapes. At different times, and for different reasons, I found myself thinking of first Tolkien, and then, oddly, Robert E. Howard.