• Format: 220 x 155mm
  • Illustrations: Original black and white drawings by C. Walter Hodges
  • Publication date: 1 September 2019
  • Producer: Smith Settle
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Binding: Cloth hardback
  • Trimmings: Illustrated endpapers; colour blocking to spine and front
  • NB: Hand-numbered, limited edition of 2,000 copies
  • ISBN: 9781910898321
Made in Britain

The Eagle of the Ninth (Published 1 Sept 2019)

Rosemary Sutcliff

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Description

The Eagle of the Ninth tells the story of Marcus Aquila, a young centurion on his first command on the fringes of the Roman Empire.

As Marcus arrives in Britain to take up his first command, he is haunted by the memory of his father and the 6,000 men of the Ninth Hispana Legion, who twelve years earlier had marched north of Hadrian’s Wall to quell an uprising and were never seen again. Seriously wounded soon after in an attack by hostile tribesmen, invalided out of the Roman Army and wondering what to do with his life, Marcus determines to make the hazardous journey north in a bid to discover the fate of the Ninth Legion, and in particular of the Roman eagle, the Legion’s standard and a possible rallying point for the northern tribes in their war against Rome. Sutcliff’s most famous book is a gripping adventure and a touching coming-of-age story, based on the real disappearance of the Ninth Legion around the year ad 117.   

“Sometime about the year 117 AD, the Ninth Legion, which was stationed at Eburacum where York now stands, marched north to deal with a rising among the Caledonian tribes, and was never heard of again.

During the excavations at Silchester nearly eighteen hundred years later, there was dug up under the green fields which now cover the pavements of Calleva Atrebatum, a wingless Roman Eagle, a cast of which can be seen to this day in Reading Museum. Different people have had different ideas as to how it came to be there, but no one knows, just as no one knows what happened to the Ninth Legion after it marched into the northern mists.

It is from these two mysteries, brought together, that I have made the story of ‘The Eagle of the Ninth’.” – Rosemary Sutcliff



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Reviews

Comments & Reviews

  1. It is a simply glorious book. In the foreword by the author we are told that around the year AD 117 the Ninth Legion which was stationed near where York now stands, marched north to deal with a rising among the Caledonian tribes and was never heard of again. Eighteen hundred years later during an excavation at Sichester a wingless Roman Eagle was dug up. Nobody knows why it was there just as nobody knows what happened to the Ninth Legion and Rosemary Sutcliff put these two mysteries together and wrote this book . . . I have found a book, and three more to follow, which is such a joy and has delighted me so much.

  2. Book-devouring kids tend not to know Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth trilogy because they were first published so long ago, but her best work is brilliant and has a “not designed for kids” feel that kids often pick up on and appreciate.

  3. Independent | Obituary: Rosemary Sutcliff says:

    ‘Rosemary Sutcliff’s historical novels opened the eyes of a generation of children to the past. They also set a new standard for children’s historical fiction because of their insight, passion and commitment. Sutcliff was a demanding writer who expected a lot from her readers which is why her books are also wholly satisfying for adults. She evokes time and place with an incredibly sure touch and – once she had found her true voice with The Eagle of the Ninth in 1954 – a sharp ear for the dialogue of the past.’

    Read Rosemary Sutcliff’s obituary in the Independent

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