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The Eagle of The Ninth
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The Eagle of The Ninth (The Dolphin Ring Cycle #1)

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  4,831 ratings  ·  436 reviews
The Eagle of the Ninth is heralded as one of the most outstanding children's books of the twentieth century and has sold over a million copies worldwide. This special edition has been produced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this remarkable book by one of the most highly respected authors of children's literature, Rosemary Sutcliff. Rosemary Sutcliff's books about Rom ...more
Paperback, 296 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1954)
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Leah Good My mom read these books aloud to my brother and I when we were around those ages (maybe a little older). I remember begging her to keep going, so it…moreMy mom read these books aloud to my brother and I when we were around those ages (maybe a little older). I remember begging her to keep going, so it must have worked pretty well as a read-aloud.(less)

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Rating Clarification: 4.5 Stars

My first Rosemary Sutcliff book, but it will not be my last. This tale of Roman Britain and the lost Ninth Legion brings the reader into a fully imagined yet realistic world in which honor and duty are sacrosanct and the meeting of two cultures can be either a time of mutual respect or bloody conflict and distrust. Sutcliff is one darn brilliant writer of characters and settings. I could fully picture the time period, the people and the atmosphere. It rang true, an
Lance Greenfield
Oct 10, 2014 Lance Greenfield rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Classic historical fiction

At the age of eight, I read Eagle of the Ninth, my first encounter with historical fiction. I became hooked. Since then, I have been read Nigel Tranter, John Prebble, Conn Igguden, Simon Scarrow, Ruth Downie, and many others.

Forty-four years later, re-reading this classic is no less exciting for me. My view is that it should be compulsory reading in primary school as it really does bring Roman Britain to life. It is an exciting adventure that could possibly have been r
This book is fully as good as I remember. That's a lot to say for a book that I adored from the age of eight until about fourteen, reread at seventeen-ish, and then haven't read for a few years... In my head, it was always one of the most amazing books of my childhood, and my memory didn't overstate it. It is written for children, so it's very easy to read and perhaps a little less than subtle, in places -- particularly with foreshadowing. "Little did he know how important this piece of informat ...more
Ten years or so ago I was sitting in the waiting area for the Indiana branch of Immigration and Citizenship. The room is always a fertile ground for imagining people's stories and I found my attentions drifting between my book and the cast of characters surrounding me. A man walked in the room, looked puzzled and walked to the reception desk, only a few feet away from my distracted digressions. He introduced himself in our local way and began to tell the story of his son, one Private Jones who w ...more
Before I picked this book up, I had gathered two points from, respectively, the title and the edges of assorted flailings by my friends: (1) that it was about baseball or something, and (2) that it was about a couple of boys who love each other very, very, very much and who have talks about their innermost feelings and so on.

Turns out, not about baseball! Actually about Romans, which makes a certain amount of sense, since a book about Romans is one of the few things with a decent chance of being
Jul 24, 2011 Terence rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YA historical fiction
Recommended to Terence by: GR Swap
Around AD 120, the Legio IX Hispana (or Hispania) “disappeared.” Its last known posting was on Hadrian’s Wall in northern Britain, and a legend has grown up that it was ordered on a punitive expedition against the Picti beyond the Wall and was lost campaigning against them. Numerous authors have exploited our lack of certain knowledge to speculate about what might have happened – from getting transported to alternate worlds (Codex Alera series) to less fantastical versions (The Last Legion), inc ...more
The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

In Rosemary Sutcliff's books the history of Britain comes alive through sensuous descriptions of luscious forests and ragged mountains, and characters so deeply imagined that linger in your mind after the book has ended, like childhood friends untouched by time and the drudgery of life.

Her books are not popcorn historical fiction novels with anachronistic characters dressed in the costumes of the time but keeping the ideas and sensibilities of their XX/
The Eagle of the Ninth is a story that plods its way through a beautifully detailed setting.

Rosemary Sutcliff found her inspiration for The Eagle of the Ninth in two real stories of Roman Britain – one, the legendary (and somewhat historically disputed) disappearance of the Ninth Legion after it was sent north of Hadrian’s Wall to battle the Picts in 117 AD; and two, the discovery of a wingless Roman Eagle at an archaelogical dig in Silchester. And so Marcus was created, the son of the leader of
Elizabeth Rose
The Eagle of the Ninth is the perfect book for those mizzly days between winter and spring. Sutcliff infuses her story with living description, such that flawlessly transports her readers to the harsh and beautiful Britain under Roman rule. It took me the first fifty pages or so to get into the swing of the narrative, but now that I've finished it, I want to go back and savor those early chapters. Proud Marcus, fiery Cottia, loyal Esca, and faithful Cub — I loved each in his time, though perhaps ...more
An engrossing adventure that takes the reader from a well-staffed Roman garrison to the wilds of Scotland during the last days of Rome. Roman soldier Marcus Aquila and his British servant Esca are an interesting pair, and I liked seeing the contrast between their two cultures. I also liked the day-to-day details of life in Uncle Aquila's household. I never felt that the story dragged, and it honestly could have been longer. I did like that there wasn't a lot of traveling around, eating at campfi ...more
Marcus Flavius Aquila is a young Centurion with a bright and limitless future in the Roman Army before him, sent to the frontier of Britain to command his first Cohort. Service to Rome and pride in the army is in Marcus's blood, for his father had proudly served with the Ninth Legion. However, a shadow hangs over that legion's reputation, and the honor of every man who served in her ranks - for ten years prior, they marched north and disappeared. When an uprising threatens Marcus's command, he w ...more
I have read this book four or five times now, and I like it more and more every time, enough that by now I think I have to give it five stars. It's the story of a young man in Roman Britain, Marcus Flavius Aquila, and his quest for the lost Eagle standard of the Ninth Legion, his father's legion. (I have by now entirely stopped snickering at the fact that his name is Aquila, but I think this used to strike me as funny.)

This is a children's book of the sort that I don't think anyone writes anymor
Cynthia Haggard
No-one knows what really happened to the Ninth Legion, the Hispana. All that is known is that it marched north into what is now Scotland to deal with the Painted People, and disappeared into the mists. A battered eagle, shorn of is wings is in the museum at Reading, having been found during the excavations of Silchester, formerly known as Calleva Atrebatum.

Out of these two facts, Rosemary Sutcliff has written a wonderfully resonant story about hard choices, bravery and the ways in which that bra
Danny Maro
In the Eagle of the Ninth, the main charecter is a brave, cautious, young Roman officer named Marcus Flavius Aquila and it takes place in the 2nd Century AD in Roman Britian. Marcus's father and his father's army went missing when he was a baby. He finally decides that he wants to go and find what happened to his father and his men. So, he brings his sly, scared, ex-slave and they travel to many places and meet many people who give them a little more information about Marcus's father. This book ...more
This book was published in 1954 and, as a result, is written in an older and less accessible style than most readers are used to. Marcus Flavius has a promising career as a Roman Centurion. Posted to a British outpost he puts down a rebellion from the natives but receives a grave injury in the process. Taken to his uncle's home to recover he acquires a British slave, Esca. Marcus and Esca become like brothers and decide to risk a foray north of Hadrian's Wall to retrieve the golden eagle lost by ...more
When I announced that I was picking this up again, my father reminded me that he had read it to me as a child. While I'm sure that this is true, I have to confess that most of the memories of this book were hazy, and most of the info I had on it, was either picked up in the ether, or from Dad speaking about it at a later point in my life.

He did make one telling point about the book though, and this was what I found to be true: it's a boy's hero/action story.

Now, my bookshelves comprise mainly of
Sue Bursztynski
What can I say? I love Rosemary Sutcliff! This one is where it all starts in her Roman Britain stories. Marcus Flavius Aquila, a young Roman, comes to Britain to serve with the legions. When he's too badly wounded in a battle to be able to continue in his job, he decides to go up north to find out what happened to the standard of his father's legion, the Ninth. What he finds out may not be what he was hoping, but he learns from the experience and settles in Britain, to become the ancestor of cha ...more
I really wonder about my reading habits sometimes; specifically, I wonder how I keep ending up reading books with absolutely no idea how I came across them. Such is the case with Eagle of the Ninth, a work of historical fiction that apparently is relatively well known, as is the author. In any case, I had not heard of her until recently, nor do I remember how or where I heard of her. But however it happened, I'm glad I dug her up.

Centurion Marcus Flavius Aquila is the son of one of the members o
Shelley Fearn
I must admit to having watched the less that stellar movie "The Eagle" before I read this book. And I am glad that I did so. Had I read the book first on which the movie is based, I would have had to stop watching the movie.

Sutcliffe wrote a much more believable and historically accurate portrayal of the Roman Legions. Her depiction of camp life, tactics, and manpower organization was outstanding. (I researched many of her terms and could find no discrepancy in her descriptions.)

She tells the st
Marie R.
Normaly I read a book before I watch the movie based on it. But when I watched "The Eagle" I didn't know there was a book out there. I loved the movie so when I heard about the book I was pretty sure I would like it, too.

And I loved it! I know I did a lot of 5 star reviews lately, but this one really deserved it!

"The Eagle of the ninth" is set in Roman Britain. 12 years ago the ninth legion marched into the mists of Caledonia to battle an uprising. No one ever heard anything from them. Now Mar
First published in 1954, The Eagle Of The Ninth was once to be found in every children's library in the UK. For the last fifteen or twenty years, however, Rosemary Sutcliff' has been somewhat forgotten as the solid, carefully written style of her books has given way to fiction that thrusts itself more brazenly upon its readers.

Hearing that there was a film coming out in 2011, I thought I would renew my acquaintance and I am very glad that I did. Based upon the mystery of the fate of the Ninth Le
May 07, 2008 booklady rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young people--of ALL ages!
Recommended to booklady by: The Common Reader--boy do I miss it!
Reread 3-7 March 2005. Really enjoyed! Set in Roman Britian and told by a first class historical fiction writer. Why did I have to be an adult before I discovered her?! Reading her books is an EXCELLENT way for young people to learn history! As soon as I finished this I went on to read the rest in the series...well they roughly follow in a series--not many of the same characters, but they trace Roman British history roughly in order and include descendants wherever possible. Highly recommend for ...more
Jan 28, 2012 Rik rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rik by: Joseph
Seemed well researched, I felt like I was reading a factual account of how life looked in the Roman Britain period. The story was well paced and the characters believable.
Nathan Cunningham
This book was difficult to get through. It was so wordy I think it could have possibly been cut in half just by tightening the language, and there were significant stretches where nothing was happening. The entire first half of the book was essentially Marcus pining for his past "glory days" and wondering about his future; the book was already halfway through before he even started his quest for the lost Roman Eagle. Honestly, I was going to quit after fifty pages, but that's when Esca came into ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'm grateful to the movie The Eagle for two things: Jamie Bell, and the fact that it made me reread the book.

I love Sutcliff's language, not just her poetic descriptions of the landscape but also how, in a few, brief words, she's able to sum up complex emotional states. "He was very afraid of kindness just then" never fails to make me tear up.

(view spoiler)
At the Classics & Children's Literature conference I went to this summer, I learned a lot about British children's literature dealing with Roman Britain. It's a complex subject, analogous (though not identical) to American children's literature dealing with Native Americans and early European settlers. How to present colonial, post-colonial, and imperial complexities to a younger audience? (Especially since we don't do so well as adults when grappling with such issues.) People repeatedly men ...more
Julia Hughes
Based on The Ninth Legion who disappeared behind Hadrain's Wall into the mists of Scotland never to be seen again.
A young Roman officer, Marcus Flavius Aquila, is unimpressed when he's first posted to the remotest part of the Roman Empire: Britain. He is a professional though, & does his best to get on with the native Celtic tribes. He's even making friends when without warning there is an uprising and Marcus is left with a life changing injury to his leg, resulting in him being discharged.
Why hadn't I been aware of these books when I was young? The real-life mystery of the disappeared Roman Ninth Legion and the loss of their standard, the eponymous Eagle, north of Hadrian's Wall and the Eagle's subsequent discovery hundreds of years later buried at an archeological site at Silchester is woven into a classic quest in which a disabled Centurian undertakes to recover the standard and restore the legion's, as well as his missing father's, honour.
Why did it take the filming of this st
Gary Land
I found this novel about Roman Britain a terrific read. Although what might be termed a young adult novel, it is written with a mature style and rich historical detail that I think it should appeal to many adults as well. The book begins a bit slowly--it was written in the mid-1950s--as the author establishes her two main characters, but picks up quite a head of steam as they go on a quest to recover the Eagle, the standard of the Roman Ninth Legion, which had disappeared some twelve years befor ...more
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Book and Movie! Anyone????? 11 74 Feb 06, 2015 10:02PM  
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Rosemary Sutcliff...: August/September Read (Eagle of the Ninth) 16 10 Sep 03, 2012 05:31PM  
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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
More about Rosemary Sutcliff...

Other Books in the Series

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

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“You cannot expect the man who made this shield to live easily under the rule of man who worked the sheath of this dagger . . . You are the builders of coursed stone walls, the makers of straight roads and ordered justice and disciplined troops. We know that, we know it all too well. We know that your justice is more sure than ours, and when we rise against you, we see our hosts break against the discipline of your troops, as the sea breaks against a rock. And we do not understand, because all these things are the ordered pattern, and only the free curves of the shield-boss are real to us. We do not understand. And when the time comes that we begin to understand your world, too often we lose the understanding of our own.” 22 likes
“Esca tossed the slender papyrus roll onto the cot, and set his own hands over Marcus's. "I have not served the Centurion because I was his slave," he said, dropping unconsciously into the speech of his own people. "I have served Marcus, and it was not stomach will be glad when we start on this hunting trail.” 21 likes
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