Young adults not invented when eleven-year old CB read Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth

CB editions, as it says of itself, publishes “short fiction, poetry, translations and other work which, as the Guardian noted, ‘might otherwise fall through the cracks between the big publishers’ “. CB, I assume, is taken from the initials of the one-person band that is the publishing house, and who I think writes the blog Sonofabook which I have just enjoyed discovering.

Late last month a list of forty books that CB  read when eleven or twelve was posted. “I found it in a shoe box after my mother died in 2004. I’ve written here about this list before, but then I put it in a safe place and lost it; now I’ve found it again, disguised as a bookmark, so it gets another airing.”

Rosemary Sutcliff features, unfortunately but understandably for a eleven-or-so-year-old , spelt with an ‘E’; the book was listed as The Eagles of the Ninth (sic), a slight if significant rewording of the title (The Eagle of the Ninth, just one eagle!). Forty years on CB knows well the author and the title:

There are just two women writers on the list, Baroness Orczy and Rosemary Sutcliff. And only one book, I think, that was specifically written for children (Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth). ‘Young adults’ hadn’t yet been invented. Nor, of course, had PlayStations and Xboxes, which left a lot of time to fill.

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff, first edition cover

The full list is:

Young reader CB’s booklist, including Rosemary Sutcliffe’s (sic) The Eagles of the Ninth (sic); should be The Eagle of the Ninth, singular

Source: Sonofabook blog

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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