For award-winning, internationally-acclaimed author Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-92). By Anthony Lawton: godson, cousin & literary executor. Rosemary Sutcliff wrote historical fiction, children's literature and books, films, TV & radio, including The Eagle of the Ninth, Sword at Sunset, Song for a Dark Queen, The Mark of the Horse Lord, The Silver Branch, The Lantern Bearers, Dawn Wind, Blue Remembered Hills.
Rosemary Sutcliff grew up was seriously affected by juvenile arthritis from a very young age. She was not at school and unable to read until aged about ten years, but she was read to ceaselessly by her mother, including Grimm’s Fairy-Tales – a copy of which was in her library.
Allegedly Albert Einstein, the physicist behind the Theory of General Relativity and other crucial theoretical advances of the 20th century, once said: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Mind you that he said it might be a fairy-tale itself: https://blogs.loc.gov/folklife/2013/12/einsteins-folklore .
Puffin books have redesigned 20 classic books, covering 80 years of children’s fiction — bringing together fairy tales and fantasies, historical adventures and comic mis-adventures, in A Puffin Book list 20 classics.
In 2010 Joanna R. Smith blogged about reading Rosemary Sutcliff’s Dawn Wind—“gorgeous historical fiction” about Britain in the 6th Century AD. She loved (Rosemary Sutcliff’s): “storytelling and characters, and her talent of letting you hear and see and feel the things in her books. Her prose is quiet and lyrical and compelling, and this is “ Lovely, lovely stuff. The kind of writing I aspire to!”
The moon drifted clear of a long bank of cloud, and the cool slippery light hung for a moment on the crest of the high ground, and then spilled down the gentle bush-grown slope to the river. Between the darkness under the banks the water which had been leaden gray woke into moving ripple-patterns, and a crinkled skin of silver light marked where the paved ford carried across the road from Corinium to Aquae Sulis. Somewhere among the matted islands of rushes and water crowfoot, a moorhen cucked and was still. On the high ground in the loop of the river nothing moved at all, save the little wind that ran shivering through the hawthorn bushes.
Someone recently asked me if there were other novels by Rosemary Sutcliff set in the Bronze Age , apart from Warrior Scarlet. This set me thinking. Helped by a livejournal posting I came across a while back, and based on my own reading (some of it too long ago), I came up with this list—exceluding the re-tellings such as Beowulf. I imagine regular readers here can improve it? Anything missing?
Bronze and Iron Age The Chief’s Daughter
Shifting Sands Warrior Scarlet Sun Horse, Moon Horse
Ancient Greece The Flowers of Adonis The Truce of the Games (A Crown of Wild Olive)
Roman Britain Song for a Dark Queen Eagle’s Egg The Capricorn Bracelet The Eagle of the Ninth The Mark of the Horse Lord Outcast A Circlet of Oak Leaves The Silver Branch Frontier Wolf
The Dark Ages The Lantern Bearers Sword at Sunset
The Sword and the Circle The Light Beyond the Forest The Road to Camlann Dawn Wind The Shining Company
Vikings Sword Song Blood Feud
Norman The Shield Ring Knight’s Fee The Witch’s Brat
Elizabethan and 16th century The Armourer’s House The Queen Elizabeth Story Brother Dusty-Feet Lady In Waiting
English Civil War and 17th century The Rider of the White Horse Simon Bonnie Dundee
I came across this page on the internet about who’s who in Rosemary Sutcliff‘s historical novel and re-telling of the King Arthur legend Sword at Sunset. (Without any apparent context, it intrigued me!)
Ambrosius–Aurelius Ambrosius, mentioned in Geoffrey of Monmouth, here Artos’ uncle Arian–Artos’ first horse; rides him through fiery walls