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The Silver Branch (The Dolphin Ring Cycle #2)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  1,142 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Intrigue, plotting, and battles in the second of Rosemary Sutcliff's best-selling trilogy which began with The Eagle of the Ninth

Violence and unrest are sweeping through Roman Britain. Justin and Flavius find themselves caught up in the middle of it all when they discover a plot to overthrow the Emperor.

In fear for their lives they gather together a tattered band of men an
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Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Oxford University Press (first published 1957)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,912)
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Miriam Joy
It's very noticeable, after reading a few of Rosemary Sutcliff's books in close succession, how her protagonists are never the 'strong' ones. In Song For A Dark Queen, it's narrated by the queen's harper, not one of her warriors or a member of her family or the queen herself. And within the context of the narrative, that makes perfect sense, but it's a slightly unexpected choice. In The Eagle Of The Ninth, the protagonist is lame in one leg because of an injury, and therefore struggles with chro ...more
Maureen E
Up until very recently I was unaware that Eagle of the Ninth, one of my all-time favorite Sutcliff books had a sequel. This is not the first time something like this has happened to me, and it's very demoralizing. Anyway, I made haste and got out The Silver Branch to read immediately. And then it sat in my To Be Read pile for ages until I made myself read it because I had to return it. Well, made myself read it isn't quite the right phrase, because I enjoyed every minute of it (except when a cer ...more
Nigel
Well, the annoying thing about this book was the spoilers contained in the blurb, two on the back cover and another one on the page inside the front cover, giving away two major turning points in the book and effectively telling us something that doesn't happen until the last act, though it is the point the book has been building up to. It doesn't spoil the book by any means but it does nail down the direction of the book for you before you've even picked it up. The first spoiled turning point d ...more
Basicallyrun
I thought this was fantastic - the only reason it doesn't have five stars is because I'm judging it against The Eagle of the Ninth, which I just... like more for some reason. I adore the ties between this and The Eagle - I imagine Marcus would've been proud to see the use his eagle was put to. Justin's relationship with his father felt very real to me, too. Neither of them are really in the wrong, they're just *really awkward*. Bless.

As ever, Sutcliff writes beautifully, and does a brilliant jo
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Abigail Hartman
I cannot quite tell if this ties with "The Eagle of the Ninth" or comes in as a close second, but either way, it is a wonderful story. As with "The Eagle of the Ninth," Sutcliff has an amazing knack for showing emotion in the little things of the story, and for sweeping the reader off to yesteryear. Justin and Flavius are spectacular, and the smattering of lesser characters are each unique - Evicatos of the Spear, Aunt Honoria, Centurian Anthonius, Cullen the Fool, Paulinus, and, larger than lif ...more
Rik
Feb 03, 2012 Rik rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rik by: Joseph
Really enjoyed this book. Some similarities between this and the first, such as unusual friendship between the Roman occupiers and the locals, made it a little less fresh, but then I did read them one after the other. Again it felt authentic, and does , as the forward says, have real historical context. Makes me want to find out more about this period in history.
Jennifer Freitag
When Justin, an army surgeon, and his soldier cousin, Flavius, discover a plot against their British emperor Carausius, they are forced to go into hiding. There they spend their time dodging the Saxon agents of the traitor while creating secret communications with the Roman Caesar Constantius on the Continent. All the while they build up a rogue Legion of their own, making for their standard a mysterious, wingless Eagle whose history lies in shadow, a glory of past days to lead them on to future ...more
Katy
This is the first sequel to Eagle of the Ninth, which I read a couple of months back for a Children's Classics reading group. I bought the box set, but didn't jump straight in to the next volume, unlike most of the other books we've read, but there's a group member who is extremely passionate about these books, and the Arthurian retelling that seems to follow them. Having just had a fairly disappointing read of The Sword in the Stone, he said that RS's Arthur story was the best he'd ever read, a ...more
David Manns
Set a century or so after The Eagle of The Ninth, Rosemary Sutcliff's second novel set in Roman Britain deals with the events surrounding the so-called Emporer of Britain, Carausius. Two cousins, Flavius (a descendant of Marcus Aquila from the first book) and Justin are posted to serve under Carausius as he attempts to build Britain into a strong province, able to withstand attacks by the Saxons and to act as an outpost of civilisation should Roma fall.

Alas Carausius falls prey to a jealous usur
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Isis
This is fabulous. I think I preferred it to The Eagle Of The Ninth (which I know is the opposite of most opinions), but that's because I saw the movie The Eagle before reading the book, and I thought the changes to the plot of the quest made for a stronger story (although in most other respects I preferred the book), so the book itself suffered by comparison. I preferred the plot: saving their country is more potent than saving a symbol. (Although I love how the symbol shows up here!) Finally, I ...more
Ellis L.
I have fond memories of reading Sutcliff back when I was in my early teens. Nostalgia doesn't always serve me well, though, so I wasn't sure what I was going to find when I read this book. But it was easily got on my Kindle, and I was looking for a change of pace. I was not disappointed.

I'll let others describe the book; here I'll describe my reaction to it. I enjoyed it. It's not great literature, but it's solid literature and Sutcliff had a good eye and ear for historical matters. One doesn't
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Sineala
This is the tale of the real-life Carausian Revolt (don't worry, I had to look it up on Wikipedia too), brought to us fictionally through the lives of a pair of Marcus Aquila's descendents, Flavius the centurion and Justin the surgeon. Having ended up tangled in the plot against emperor Carausius' life, they travel all across Britain and eventually find themselves in charge of the resistance forces against his murderer, the new emperor Allectus.

I was expecting this to have a lot more spying and
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Jacey
Set some time after Eagle of the Ninth but tied to it because the main characters are probably a descended from Marcus and we return to the farm on the Downs that Marcus was granted after recovering the Eagle. It's 100 years before the last legion will leave Britain, but already the great days of Rome are over. Carausius is the Roman emperor in Britain and may be the one to hold back the dark, but he's betrayed and usurped by Allectus the Traitor.

Justin, an army surgeon with the legions, is post
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Cynthia Haggard
THE SILVER BRANCH is set about 200 years after THE EAGLE. Marcus Flavius Aquila’s namesake grandson (called Flavius rather than Marcus) and his cousin Justin come across something that points to treason in the Emperor’s general staff. Young and naive, they immediately find a way of informing the emperor.

In what follows the cousins find themselves caught up in the messy politics of divided loyalties as the people who live in Britain put up a fierce resistance against the Saxon invaders.

If one cou
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Mary Overton
Sutcliff offers finely researched history lessons. Here's a chronological listing of her novels: http://www.amazon.com/Rosemary-Sutcli...

THE SILVER BRANCH is set at the turn of the 3rd to 4th centuries during the Roman occupation of Britain, when Allectus the Traitor murders the British "emperor" Carausius. Unfortunately, as fiction the book tanks - its plot contrived and the characters flat.

A status report on the Roman Empire as given through Carausius:
"Always, everywhere, the Wolves [the bar
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Theresia
This book is the second book of the story of the lost Eagle. The story continues with the two main characters, they are the descendant of Marcus himself. Flavius, a centurions and Justin, the army surgeon. They met on assignment in Britain, at the time Britain has had its own Emperor, Emperor Carausius. They both had time to meet and get to know the Emperor personally, visiting his home and talk to him. Until they had to be sent to the Northen Wall in disgrace, when they reported a confidant bet ...more
Writerlibrarian
Old fashioned adventure story doesn't mean boring in the hands of Rosemary Sutcliff. Far from it. The story of friendship, loyalty, courage, wits and ultimately doing what is right is told with love and passion for the period.

We are almost at the sunset of the great Roman Empire, in Briton where two young men go beyond their training, their belief and put their lives on the line for what is right. Flavius Aquila, roman centurion meets Justin, well it's Tiberius Lucius Justinianus, army surgeon o
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Brian
The Silver Branch is the second book in the sequence that begins with The Eagle Of The Ninth. It's the story of two cousins in the Roman army who get caught up in the intrigue surrounding the assassination of Carausius, self-styled emperor of Britain in the last decade of the third century.

Strong characters, a compelling plot and intelligent use of period detail superbly summon up the word of Roman-Britain, whether in the chaotic bustle of the long straggling series of towns that thrive beside
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Cori_Indriani
Walaupun sedikit terganggu dengan narasi panjang lebar dari sudut pandang justin, tapi cara Rosemary membagi buku ini dalam dua sudut pandang tokoh utamanya -justin dan flavius- justru menjadi suatu hal yg menarik. Melankolisme Justin dan kolerisme Falivius, membawa pada suatu narasi cerita disudutpandangkan oleh Justin, dengan Flavius secara konstan menjadi bagian utama narasi. Suatu cara penulisan yang unik untuk sebuah cerita peperangan.
Linda
I give this four stars instead of five just because I don't love it quite as much as Eagle of the Ninth. It's very well written, has an interesting cast of characters and the plot moves along quickly: darkness is falling on Roman Britain and treachery is in the air. Two of Marcus' descendants work to keep the light shining for a little longer, knowing that the world they have grown up in is about to disappear,
Nikki
Not sure why I didn't like this as much, when I was younger. Maybe I'd just wanted more time with Marcus and Esca, and felt a little cheated by Flavius and Justin. Not so much, now: it was like meeting up with an old, old friend, to read this book again. It's a quick read, like the first book, and maybe the reread of this one was even more of a pleasure, because I was truly discovering something new in it this time.

I love the way Rosemary Sutcliff bases her books so strongly on real things -- on
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amelia cavendish
I had been putting off reading this because I loved Marcus and Esca so much, I didn't want to read about new characters. Well, that was my loss because honestly, I loved Justin and Flavius just as much, if not more!

Justin and Flavius become firm friends instantly and they remain so throughout the book. Justin, with his stammer, is not the natural leader that Flavius is, but whenever their leadership could be challenged, Flavius is always quick to point out that in leadership matters, he and Just
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Harry Cunningham
A good follow up to the eagle of the ninth, and although they are technically children's books and don't have the huge depth to the plot it was an enjoyable read. It was about a period of British Roman history i was interested to know more about. Most of the main events seem to have been factually correct.
Kati
3.5 stars. A good adventure book for the whole family, both kids and adults, a follow-up to "The Eagle of the Nine" by the same author. I liked the characters a lot, all of them, but especially Flavius and Justinus, the main characters. Though for me, the book was... missing something. Maybe because it wasn't about them being a part of various historical events, it was about the historical events featuring them, the story was more important than the characters. There were few scenes that I would ...more
Mary
This book focuses on two young descendents of Marcus and Cottia. The main protagonist is Justin, who is just starting out as a Medicus to a legion in Northern Britain. There, he meets his cousin Flavius. The two young men soon find that there is a plot against the emperor, led by his closest adviser. When they attempt to warn the emperor, they find that their own lives are in danger. Will they be able to save the emperor's life - and their own?

As in "The Eagle of the Ninth", Sutcliff excels in c
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Simon
Quite a long way behind The Eagle of the Ninth. It takes a while to get going and you never get to know or care about the main characters too deeply.

Criticism is in comparison to its prequel. It's still a fine book. Interesting band of characters with different backgrounds. Shows both the extent of the Roman Empire and how it eventually crumbled. The first book was generally sympathetic to the tribes north of the wall; this one sees everything Saxon as heathen and brutish. One of the decent Rom
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Leon
Whilst our heroes are once again a pair of bromancing fugitives, The Silver Branch's story does distinguish itself sufficiently from The Eagle of the Ninth's own.

I rather like the ways in which this book was tied loosely to the first in the 'series'. Even though it is set many generations later, with the main characters both being descendents of Marcus, and distant cousins of one another. And then there is the eponymous eagle, appearing once more in the climactic chapter.

As charming as the bleak
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Margaret
5/9/11 ** It was good - not as compelling as the first in the series, Eagle of the Ninth, though. I never did figure out the character who had the Silver Branch. I did enjoy the two main characters. One thing odd, though was the perspective. Generally the character who is the main character and from whose point of view the book is written is more dominant. In this case though, the perspective character, Justin, often was back-stage to his friend and cousin, (can't remember the name). Justin was ...more
Roger Burk
The evocation of Roman Britain circa 296 AD is well done, and the characters are finely drawn, but much of the plot seems quite improbable.
O'Fallon Public Library
Recommended for the Librarian's List by Birkenhead Library (Auckland, New Zealand).
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Rosemary Sutcliff was a British novelist, best known as a writer of highly acclaimed historical fiction. Although primarily a children's author, the quality and depth of her writing also appeals to adults, she herself once commenting that she wrote "for children of all ages from nine to ninety."

Born in West Clandon, Surrey, Sutcliff spent her early youth in Malta and other naval bases where her fa
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More about Rosemary Sutcliff...

Other Books in the Series

The Dolphin Ring Cycle (8 books)
  • The Eagle of the Ninth
  • Frontier Wolf
  • The Lantern Bearers
  • Sword at Sunset
  • Dawn Wind
  • Sword Song
  • The Shield Ring
The Eagle of the Ninth The Lantern Bearers Black Ships Before Troy Sword at Sunset The Shining Company

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“The young Centurion, who had been completely still throughout, said very softly, as though to himself, "Greater love hath no man--" and Justin thought it sounded as though he were quoting someone else.” 12 likes
“It is very hot tonight," Justin said, and loosed the folds of his light cloak, revealing the sprig of rye-grass thrust through the bronze clasp at the neck of his tunic.” 5 likes
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