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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

Courage And Friendship On Hadrian's Wall

The Silver Branch (Eagle Of The Ninth) - Rosemary Sutcliff

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 Hadrian's Wall or in the prosperous dignity of Romano-British cities in the south.

All of the themes familiar to readers of Rosemary Sutcliff's work are represented here: courage and friendship, civilization and barbarity, honour and duty, the ties of family and of landscape. But above all, this is an adventure story in the old-fashioned sense: two young men overcoming apparently unsurmountable odds for the sake of a cause that they believe in. A tremendous read.