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Warrior Scarlet

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  661 ratings  ·  40 reviews
In Bronze Age Britain, young Drem must overcome his disability-a withered arm-if he is to prove his manhood and become a warrior.
Published by Puffin Books (first published 1958)
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3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  661 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-books
I don't get all the negative reviews! I looooved this book. Made me tear up more than once. All the characters were beautiful and wonderful and just...YES. The only thing I didn't like about it were the illustrations - they were horribly sixties/seventies and super unattractive.
Mark Adderley
This is the story of Drem, a boy of the Bronze Age, who wishes to take his Warrior Scarlet, the kilt that signifies that he is a full, adult member of the Tribe. Alas, he has a withered right arm, so the oddas are against him.

Warrior Scarlet is, like most of Rosemary Stucliff's books, beautifully written, particularly the descriptive passages that describe seasonal activities as the year wears on. Like always, when reading one of Sutcliff's books, I feel not only that I've been entertained by a
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This is what I think of when I think of Sutcliff--epic transformative storytelling set in the past with great historicism and insight. She makes fascinating investigations into what life may have been like during the Bronze Age at the cusp of the Iron Age, while still grounding the reader in a very human tale of perseverance. Wonderful.
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I found the setting to be a difficulty with this book. It's set around 900 BCE, during the Bronze Age in Britain. I know almost nothing about this period, as with many of the periods Sutcliff wrote about, but Sutcliff herself knew less about this one too, because (I believe) there isn't any written record of the Bronze Age people, only information from archaeology. My impression is that Sutcliff learned about the artefacts attributed to these people, and then made up a culture around them, from ...more
Nichola Grimshaw
Another book from my own primary school experience revisited - this story is even better than I remembered.

I think I’ve mentioned Mrs Barnes, the headteacher of my own little primary school, before - when I looked back on my own personal reading for pleasure story her influence flew out at me. She would read to each class once a week, the ‘infants’ all sitting on the floor in the hall for ‘Mrs Pepperpot’ and ‘Teddybear Robinson’ and the ‘junior’ classes in their classrooms. I know that when I w
Another of Sutcliff's historical novels set on the South Downs, Warrior Scarlet (1958) is set during the Bronze Age and heralds the dawning on the Iron Age. Drem dreams of being accepted into the warrior caste but his useless arm means that he is disadvantaged and ousted by his grandfather. Yet Drem shows determination and finds inspiration in Talore the hunter who suffers from a similar disability.
One cannot help but wonder how influenced Sucliff was by living in Walberton and her walks on the
Rebecca Radnor
Unlike most of Sutcliff's other works, this one is of bronze age Britain long before the first coming of the Romans. The only 'historical' thing is the initial introduction of iron to the tribe via a trader, otherwise, it is about what it was like to live at that time. The story is of a handicapped boy, who is one of the 'golden people' -- a Celt, born with one useless arm, who as is the tradition of his tribe, must single handedly kill a wolf. If he fails, he will either die in the effort, or b ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can see in Bronze Age Drem, and his people, bits and pieces of many of Sutcliff's other stories: the death of the old King and the making of the new (and a version of the Wolf-Slaying) is in Frontier Wolf; the New Spear ritual is in Eagle of the Ninth; there are cultural elements I recognize from Mark of the Horse Lord, too. This makes it a more familiar book, despite being set long before the others.

What I like about Sutcliff's work is that she does not shy away from having really bad things
Jeremy Hickerson
I recently re-read this for about the fourth time, but the last time I read it was probably thirty years ago. This is a mid-grade to young adult book, but obviously has something for adults too.

Warrior Scarlet is the story of a boy, Drem, growing up in bronze-age Britain. Drem has a paralyzed arm and this is really a problem in a society where a man has to be a hunter and a fighter. A boy must kill a wolf to become a man.

I had forgotten or maybe not noticed how poetic Sutcliff's writing is. And
Steve Hanscomb
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my absolute favourite books. It is the only book by Rosemary Sutcliff I have read and came across it because I love Charles Keeping's illustration and the book is read by a character in another book I have enjoyed, 'Nordy Bank' by Sheena Porter. The bronze and iron ages are of great interest for me, so the book seemed to have a lot going for it. How right this proved to be. I can't remember a book that has had me more emotionally gripped, willing the boy Drem to succeed, for him t ...more
Abigail Hartman
Not my favorite of Sutcliff's books - it doesn't have the gripping, memorable characters that most of her other works boast - but still an enjoyable story for younger readers.
I can never remember the end of this -- it's the beginning that stuck with me. Lovely and detailed.
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[NB: This review originally appeared on The Warden's Walk on December 15, 2012.]

The wild landscape of Britain is more a character in Warrior Scarlet than in any other book I have read of Rosemary Sutcliff, and this for an author already famed for her lush and precise vocabulary of the natural world. Here more than ever she becomes a word-painter of every sort of tree and thicket, every spring flower and snow-covered moor, every sleeping valley and heather-banked brook, and all the other myriad w
I admit to being a fan of Rosemary Sutcliffe, so please excuse me if I gush. As expected, Warrior Scarlet put the reader into the setting. I walked in the shoes of a boy in Bronze Age Britain as he sought to become a warrior even though he only had one useful arm. Realistic relationships with his mother, grandfather, and adopted "sister" continued the realistic experience. The life painted is tough, but not without beauty, joy and discovery. I guess I liked most the boy's realistic determination ...more
Rosemary Sutcliff is probably best known for her historical novels for children about Roman Britain, but this novel about Drem, a Bronze age boy living with his tribe on the South Downs, was one of my favourites as a child.

The novel opens with 9 year old Drem talking with Doli, one of the Little Dark People who live on the hills with their sheep. Drem tells Doli that he intends to become a warrior and to wear the Warrior Scarlet that the rest of his tribe do. However, on returning home, he hears
Jul 30, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
When young I read several of Sutcliff's excellent "juvenile"
historical novels set in early Britain, but I missed this one till now. Most of hers I read are in Roman or post-Roman Britain, but this is early bronze age, so the society is much
more speculative. I suspect an expert in the era would find some of the reconstruction outdated, but it seems vividly real as she describes it. In her version, the young men of the tribe must each kill a wolf single-handed, a problem for
the hero Drem since he
I know everyone likes this one a lot... but I couldn't really get into it.

This is the tale of Drem, a boy in a Bronze Age British tribe, and his journey into manhood in a culture that expects him to singlehandedly kill a wolf -- the problem in Drem's case is that he literally has a single usable hand to work with.

The novel as a whole has beautiful, lush description -- just the sort of thing Sutcliff's books are good at -- and some dramatic action and numinous rituals and same-sex friendship and
ci chong
this is a beautiful book of coming of age and social outcasts. whether you like Drem or not,you'll be glad when he finally manages to find his place in his community despite being a cripple.this was my first sutcliffe-- I didn't like it as much when I first read it, as I didn't really like Drem-- he's a very natural boy, somewhat bitter and even cruel sometimes as result of the stigma of lacking a sword arm, and the harsh treatment as result from the Grandfather, his brother, men and other boys ...more
When Drem is nine he has a sudden, life-changing realization. The arm that has been crippled since birth may deny him a place in his Bronze Age tribe. Determined to fight for his place in order to win it, Drem gains allies among his peers and the tribal leaders by means of his charismatic and indomitable will. When pure chance topples the world he has built for himself, Drem must leam that will-power cannot overcome all obstacles. Arrogance and humility, isolation and inclusion, enmity and chari ...more
Kristen Smith
Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Drem, a boy with one arm living in the Bronze Age--an age of heroes, must overcome his seemingly overwhelming odds in order to become a full-fledged member of his clan. If he cannot succeed, then he will become an outcast. Sutcliff paints Drem's sufferings in a realistic and poignant manner. I recommend this book for ages 10 and up--it is the Bronze Age afterall. Some of the parts will bring (most certainly an older reader) to tears. Historical fiction. 900 BC in Britain. Just an excellent read.
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, worthwhile-2015
"The sun was westering as he came dipping down into the combe that sheltered the home steading; and all the great, rounded, whale-backed masses of the downs were pooled and feathered with coolness, the shadows of a stunted whitethorn tree reaching across half a hillside, every rise and hollow of the land that did not show at all when the sun was high casting its own long liquid shadow across the gold."
Aug 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gloria by: Elizabeth
I think 3 stars, because I found it took me a long time to get into the book. Once I finally was engaged, I do think it is one of Sutcliff's richest books, rich with details and information. Maybe because it is a time period that is not as familiar to many that she layered so much into it....?

Oct 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspirational. Amazing historical fiction story. It takes a few chapters to get used to the old English language style, but doesn't detract once you get settled in. Great book for readers starting in the early teens, but isn't limited to that age group. This could possibly be my favorite book ever.
Allison Tebo
First read in 2007/2008
Jeremy Leung
it sucks
There is so many words on one page, it is very small that i can barely read it………… so smallllllllll…

Theo Flynn
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favourite book as a kid, hope to read it to my son soon.
Apr 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My next favourite childhood book after The Hobbit.Brings the Bronze Age to life.
Ernest Marlin
Sep 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic, pure escapism!
Jul 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The very real subtlety of the little interactions and moments, made this so alive to me, I could feel their different and fluctuating shades of feelings..
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book that introduced me to my favorite author when I was a child. Read it when I was 7, and still have fond memories of it today.
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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