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Heralded as the best historical novel for children ever written, and one of the outstanding children's books of the twentieth century, Rosemary Sutcliff's The Eagle of the Ninth, an adventure story set in Roman Britain, remains as popular now as when it was first published in 1954.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHYRosemary Sutcliff was born in 1920 in West Clanden, Surrey. With over 50 books to her credit, Rosemary Sutcliff is now universally considered one of the finest writers of historical novels for children. Her first novel, The Queen Elizabeth Story was published in 1950. In 1959 her book The Lantern Bearers won the Carnegie Medal. In 1974 she was highly commended for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and in 1978 her book, Song for a Dark Queen was commended for the Other Award. In 1975, Rosemary was awarded the OBE for services to Children's Literature and the CBE in 1992. Unfortunately Rosemary passed away in July 1992 and is much missed by her many fans.ILLUSTRATOR BIOGRAPHYCyril Walter Hodges (1909-2004) was an English book illustrator at the height of a distinguished career in the 1950s and '60s when he illustrated some of Sutcliff's early works- The Queen Elizabeth Story, The Armourer's House, Brother Dusty Feet, Simon and The Shield Ring. In the same period he also illustrated well-known children's authors William Mayne (A Swarm in May) and Ian Serraillier (The Silver Sword). His drawings are very much in the tradition of 19th-century book illustration. Hodges was a leading scholar of the Elizabethan theatre and himself the author of a number of books including Columbus Sails (1939) and Shakespeare's Theatre (1964), which he lavishingly and lovingly illustrated.
Those books are colossal. They are fantastic. -- David Mitchell on
The Eagle of the Ninth trilogy
I found myself caught up in [The Eagle of the Ninth] all over again, when the film version appeared in 2011. Fifty years on, I found its you-were-there deciption of Roman Britain and gripping plot as beguiling as ever... Re-reading Sutcliff, I realise just how un-condescending to younger readers her style and vocabulary are ... More important, the bok taught the younger me about friendship, courage and integrity. Sutcliff's heroes are models of how to be good people, but never priggish or unbelievable... -- Sally Hawkins * The Sunday Times *
Decades later, I can still hear echoes of The Eagle of the Ninth in my head: the chink of mail, the tired beat of the legionaries' feet. * The Independent *
These tales of Roman Britain have yet to be surpassed for their non-patronising prose and adult dangers. Sutcliff makes Classics and archaeology uniquely thrilling for children. -- Amanda Craig * The Times *