A Crown of Wild Olive was the new title given to the Rosemary Sutcliff story The Truce of the Games (1971) when it was re-published ,in 1972 in the USA, in an omnibus collection of stories Heather, Oak and Olive. That collection also included two other stories: The Chief”s Daughter and A Circlet of Oak Leaves.
A self-described “bookseller, reader, science fiction; fantasy writer, photographer, and gluten-free cook”, who signs her “name E. M. Epps”, gave a “thumbs up” for A Circlet of Oak Leaves by Rosemary Sutcliff at her blog “This space intentionally left blank”. She wrote”
A little novella taking place in Roman Britain. A slight book, but beautifully written as I would expect from Sutcliff.
“So he took them on, through a vicious squall of slingstones. Where the ground grew too steep to ride they dropped from the horses and ran on, crouching with heads down behind their light bronze-rimmed bucklers. By the time they reached the spur, hearts and lungs bursting within them, he had no idea how many or how few were still behind him; he had no chance to look round. He did not even know that many of the horses, lightened of their riders ‘ weight, had come scrambling after them, bringing their own weapons, the stallions’ weapons of teeth and trampling hooves, into the fight. He only knew that the time came when there were no more Painted Men left alive on the spur, and that the terrible boulder [perched above them], swaying as it seemed to every breath, was still there.”
I have been slowly updating, and I hope improving, the page here on this website with the brief summaries of the stories that Rosemary Sutcliff tells in her books. So, A Circlet of Oak Leaves (from 1968):
Gradually reveals the mystery behind a humble horse-breeder Aracos’s award for outstanding bravery. It tells the story of a daring exploit when Roman auxiliaries and legionnaires fought the Picts on the northern borders of England. Standing in for Felix, a legionary sick with fear before a battle, he fights with great courage and then sees Felix receive the Corona Civica for what he has been through.