The Eagle of the Ninth was published in 1954, the year I was born, but I must have read it for the first time when I was 12 or 13, just after my Tolkien phase. Like many other Sutcliff fans, I was gripped by this story of a young man travelling from the soft south of Roman Britain to the wilds beyond Hadrian’s Wall where the Scots were still very independent indeed. Marcus Flavius Aquila is on a mission to find out what happened to his father’s legion, the 9th Hispana, which marched north into the Caledonian mists and was never seen again.
Of course Marcus is really trying to find out what happened to his father, and whether his dad died nobly or not. Essential reading for all boys worried that their absent dad might not always have been a paragon of virtue.
The other nine stories chosen by Tony Bradman were:
– Odysseus and Telemachus in The Odyssey
– The Mouse and his Child by Russell Hoban
– The William Stories by Richmal Crompton
– A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
– The Road by Cormac McCarthy
– Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian
– And When Did You Last See Your Father? by Blake Morrison
– Henry IV Parts I and II by WIlliam Shakespeare
– Homer and Bart Simpson