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The City Of Invention

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

A Classic Tale Of Roman Britain

The Eagle Of The Ninth - Rosemary Sutcliff

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 Legion which marched from its station in what is now York some time around AD 117 and was never seen again, this is the story of a young Roman soldier, the son of a centurion of that ill-fated legion, who sets out some eight years later to discover his father's fate, it is a terrific read.

Rosemary Sutcliff makes the world of Roman Britain as vivid and real as if it were still standing to this day. Her characters are strongly drawn and her observation of nature is wonderfully well conveyed in tightly-written prose. This is a delight to read and a timeless classic.