Chronicler of Occupied Brittania | Rosemary Sutcliff’s life and work | Obituary from The Guardian newspaper

Let us not be solemn about the death of Rosemary Sutcliff CBE, who has died suddenly, aged 72, despite the progressively wasting Still’s disease that had been with her since the age of two. She was impish, almost irreverent sometimes, in her approach to life. Her favourite author was Kipling and she once told me she had a great affection for The Elephant’s Child – because his first action with his newly acquired trunk was to spank his insufferably interfering relations.

But it was Kipling’s deep communion with the Sussex countryside and its history that was her true inspiration. Settled as an adult in Arundel, Rosemary shared with him his love for his county as well as his vision of successive generations living in and leaving their mark upon the landscape.

Rosemary Sutcliff, at the peak of her form in her ‘Roman’ novels, was without doubt an historical writer of genius, and recognised internationally as such. Read More »

Sword in the Circle, Arthurian book by Rosemary Sutcliff, “pretty much formed” the character of A Book Worm blogger

US Rosemary Sutcliff The Sword and the Circle 1994

The author of the blog  A Book Worm, has posted at the You Write tab on this blog:

My first Sutcliff book was The Sword in the Circle, which I was given while on holiday in Tintagel back in 1985. I was four and it was my first ‘grown-up’ book. I loved it then and love it still. For a decade or so I reread it and the other books that make up the Arthur trilogy, every couple of months.

I loved all of the Sutcliff books I came across but it was this one that pretty much formed much of my character. I still re-read the book from time to time, and it still has the same impact on me now as it did back when I was younger. I will be forever grateful to Rosemary Sutcliff for writing such amazing books. In fact there is a special thank you to here on my blog.

Now might have to just dig out my copy of Blood Feud, haven’t read that one in a while……

Rosemary Sutcliff historical and children’s book and novel Blood Feud cover

Quotes from Rosemary Sutcliff’s Arthurian novel Sword at Sunset |Chosen by ~*LunaSea*~ blog

Press cuttings about Historical novel Sword at Sunset by Rosemary SutcliffQuotes to ponder from Rosemary Sutcliff’s Arthurian novel Sword at Sunset in the eyes of a recent reader:

“The taste of vomit was in my very soul, and a shadow lay between me and the sun”

“To go into battle drunk is a glory worth experiencing, but it does not make for clear and detailed memory”

“In war and in the wilderness one easily loses count of time”

“A wonderful thing is habit”

And the author of the blog, a lunatic reader with self-ascribed ‘book lust’,  especially liked :

“Silence took us by the throat”

from:  ~*LunaSea*~ | a life reading words.

More about Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff on this blog

Rosemary Sutcliff has written some of the finest contemporary recreations of the Arthurian story

Raymond H. Thompson (Author)  interviewed Rosemary Sutcliff for the periodical Avalon to Camelot in 1986. In the introduction he wrote:

Though perhaps best known for historical novels set in Roman Britain, such as The Eagle of the Ninth (1954), Rosemary Sutcliff has written some of the finest contemporary recreations of the Arthurian story. She introduces us to Arthur in The Lantern Bearers (1959), a book for younger readers that won the Carnegie Medal, and in Sword at Sunset (1963) she continues his tale in his own words. She has also retold the Arthurian legend with clarity and elegance in Tristan and Iseult (1971), The Light Beyond the Forest (1979), The Sword and the Circle (1981), and The Road to Camlann (1981). Her later novels were set in the more recent past, but she returned to Dark Age Britain for her … novel The Shining Company (London: Bodley Head), which is based upon the Gododdin. This poem, composed about 600 A.D. in North Britain by the bard Aneirin to commemorate a band of British warriors who fell in battle against the Angles, is of special interest in that it provides us with the earliest mention of Arthur’s name and Sutcliff’s novel preserves the Arthurian echoes.

Source:  Interview with Rosemary Sutcliff | Robbins Library Digital Projects.

Sword at Sunset Arthurian novel by Rosemary Sutcliff an ‘odd one out’ | The Independent newspaper in Dec 2012

Historian, writer and journalist  Christina Hardyment reflected on Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff in response to the anniversary edition of  Sutcliff’s Arthurian adult novel – an ‘odd one out’.

Rosemary Sutcliff is most famed for The Eagle of the Ninth, but there was much more to her than that. In the 1950s, historically-minded children found her books a magic carpet into the past. I began with Brother Dusty-feet (1952) and The Armourer’s House (1951), and never looked back an insatiable interest in history has remained the backbone of my life.

In 1954, The Eagle of the Ninth introduced Marcus Flavius Aquila, a young Roman who chooses to stay in Britain after the legions leave. Seven subsequent books follow his family’s fate, usually directly. The odd book out is the fifth, Sword at Sunset, now published in a new edition to celebrate its 50th birthday. In 1963, it was firmly announced to be for adults, and given the (for their time) graphic and violent scenes of sex and slaughter, it deserved to be.

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