The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Print length: 292 pages

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff is set in Roman Britain. I was recommended this book because of my interest in Hadrian’s Wall, but the book has little to do with the Wall and more about Marcus Flavius Aquila, a Roman centurion sent to protect it from northern barbarians. When he is lamed during a battle and forced out of the army because of his injury, he goes to live with his uncle to recuperate and decide what to do with his life. While at his uncle’s, he purchases Esca, a barbarian hunter, to be his slave. One day Esca returns from hunting with a wolf cub as a present for Marcus who raises it as a pet.

Marcus’s father was the commander of the Ninth Legion. While protecting the frontier, they marched out into the Scottish mist and disappeared. When Marcus has an opportunity to find out what happened to the Ninth and to recover the Eagle, the legion’s lost standard, he and Esca set out for the frontier disguised as an oculist and his helper.

The story is more than about the adventure. It is about finding one’s self, friendship, loyalty, and freedom. Though written for young adults, the book is appealing to all ages. It is well-written. The characters and plot draw you in and keep you wondering what will happen next. I highly recommend this book.