I started reading Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Flowers of Adonis today and within three pages it had me caught by the neck and submerged into the old Sutcliff magic. I have so often already thought ‘this is her best book, this will be my all-time favourite’. I thought so after I read Three Legions, I though so every time I read The Shield Ring and I certainly thought so after I had read The Shining Company, but, of course, that was before I read Dawn Wind!
I still think, Dawn Wind is perfect in every syllable but I’m fascinated by The Flowers of Adonis. I thought I could smell and hear the scene before I could see it, like dawn slowly lifting from the streets of Athens, and before I ever knew what Alcibiades looked like – far less who he is, never having been as familiar with ancient Greece than with ancient Britain – I could feel Thimoteus’ urge to follow him.
We are busy readers in my family and on our shelves the books stand three rows deep, but the likes of Rosemary Sutcliff I have never found anywhere else.