Rosemary Sutcliff’s Carnegie-medal-winning The Lantern Bearers adapted for radio by Felix Fenton (1961)

I recently discovered  Felix Felton (1911 – 72) who was a British actor, and a radio director and author. In 1961 he adapted Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Lantern Bearers (published in 1959) for a six-part series for Children’s Hour for BBC Radio. In 1962 he also adapted  Dawn Wind (1961) for radio, playing the role of Einon Hen himself.

Wonderful historical novel Dawn Wind by Rosemary Sutcliff | Reprinted by OUP | At Sainsburys!

Good to find Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical novel Dawn Wind, recently reprinted by OUP, on sale with Sainsburys!

Cover of Rosemary Sutcliff's Dawnwind

 

Rosemary Sutcliff, historical novelist

 

Dawn Wind (1961) (from Tab at top of this blog – Stories)

The last Roman-British wearer of the dolphin ring, Owain is the only survivor of a Viking raid and the great battle of Aquae Sulis. Just fourteen years old, his father and brother die at the battle but he eventually makes his way to a peaceful Saxon settlement where he is made thrall to a Saxon family. Travelling there he meets a half-wild girl whom he cares for but is forced to leave behind when she falls ill. They meet up again after many years apart, still so in tune with each other that they are able to understand each other’s wordless messages. During his years of service he discovers understanding and even friendship, and loyalty for the people who were once his enemies. His freedom earned, he shoulders the weight of the Saxon household rather than betray a promise to his former master.

 

 

 

 

 

Rediscovering Rosemary Sutcliff’s novels | Finding Dawn Wind

By profession a writer and editor herself, Hilary Phillips has found Rosemary Sutcliff’s books again, and has posted about the experience at the You Write tab. Thank you!

I rediscovered Rosemary Sutcliff’s novels this winter, having watched the film The Eagle. I remembered how much I had enjoyed reading a number of her books as a teenager, so launched in with The Lantern Bearers, as the first one that I came across on my eldest son’s rather disorganised bookshelves. I then read The Silver Branch and just for completeness, reverted to The Eagle of the Ninth which I had read repeatedly as a child and young teen, so it definitely felt like rediscovering an old friend. If you know the series you’ll realise this is completely reverse order, which just seemed to add to the charm. And I honestly thought that was it for the series. Although I knew there were plenty of other books, I didn’t realise that she had continued the story over so many generations, and in fact that, in many ways the climax was still to come. So how wonderful when my caring husband produced A Sword at Sunset as a Christmas present. Genuinely, the book I really wanted to exist, but had no knowledge of! I escaped into the dark ages for the Christmas holidays and thoroughly enjoyed the epic tale, the battles, the adventuring, the sad realness of the love story and the freshness of the storytelling, despite its roots in the Arthur legend.

Now, Dawn Wind came along at Easter, just republished and a very fine piece of writing. I really have no memory of reading this as a teenager and although the book may have been aimed at young adults, either that’s still the stage I’m at (I wish) or there’s really a great deal more there for the taking. The characterisation is convincing, the story enthralling as each new stage of Owain’s life opens up. The descriptions of place, of time, of conflict, of dogs and horses, loyalty, love and commitment are as engaging as ever. In case you’ve not read it, I’ll not spoil the ending, but go on the adventure and discover what happens in Owain’s long journey across dark age Britain for yourself!

Dawn Wind by Rosemary Sutcliff being re-issued | Book cover with Charles Keeping original illustration

Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical novel for children (“of all ages 8 to 88”) Dawn Wind is being republished. The cover  proofs arrived recently. Happily OUP are able to use the original Charles Keeping picture.

Rosemary Sutcliff’s Dawn Wind new edition new cover

Dawn Wind involves the last Roman-British wearer of the dolphin ring which features in several Rosemary Sutciff historical novels. Owain is the only survivor of a Viking raid and the great battle of Aquae Sulis. Just fourteen years old, his father and brother die at the battle but he eventually makes his way to a peaceful Saxon settlement where he is made thrall to a Saxon family. Travelling there he meets a half-wild girl whom he cares for but is forced to leave behind when she falls ill. They meet up again after many years apart, still so in tune with each other that they are able to understand each other’s wordless messages. During his years of service he discovers understanding and even friendship, and loyalty for the people who were once his enemies. His freedom earned, he shoulders the weight of the Saxon household rather than betray a promise to his former master.