Rosemary Sutcliff’s classic novel The Eagle of the Ninth is now a film: The Eagle

by |November 19, 2010

Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles

This is one of the first books I was made (forced) to read at school. Of all the books I was made to read, this and The Catcher in the Rye, were the only two I enjoyed.

The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch and The Lantern Bearers are recognized as being three of the best novels about Roman Britain written for children. Written by Rosemary Sutcliff, one the most acclaimed children’s writers of the twentieth century, and loved around the world, these outstanding books are now available in one volume.

The Ninth Legion marched into the mists of northern Britain-and they were never seen again. Four thousand men disappeared and their eagle standard was lost. It’s a mystery that’s never been solved, until now . . .

So begins the story of The Eagle of the Ninth , set against a backdrop of Roman Britain and featuring a young soldier, Marcus Aquila, who sets off into the unknown north to find out what happened to the lost legion.

Following on from this are The Silver Branch in which two young soldiers uncover a plot to overthrow the Emperor, and The Lantern Bearers which is set at a time when the Romans are leaving the shores of Britain and tells of Aquila who, having served in the Roman army, is now returning home to his farm-but when he gets there everything he knows and loves has been destroyed and so he sets out to seek revenge.

To have three such exciting stories in one volume is a treat for fans old and new.

The film…. The Eagle: In 140 AD, two men – master and slave – venture beyond the edge of the known world on a dangerous and obsessive quest that will push them beyond the boundaries of loyalty and betrayal, friendship and hatred, deceit and heroism…

The Roman epic adventure THE EAGLE stars Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell and is directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald.

20 years earlier, Rome’s 5,000-strong Ninth Legion, under the command of Flavius Aquila, marched north carrying their treasured golden Eagle emblem. They never returned; Legion and Eagle simply vanished into the mists.

Hearing a rumor that the Eagle has been seen in a tribal temple in the far north, Flavius’ son Marcus (Tatum), determined to restore the tarnished reputation of his father, is galvanized into action. Accompanied only by his slave Esca (Bell), Marcus sets out into the vast and dangerous highlands of Scotland – to confront its savage tribes, make peace with his father’s memory, and retrieve the hallowed Eagle. Along the way Marcus realizes that the mystery of his father’s disappearance may well be linked to the secret of his own slave’s identity and loyalty – a secret all the more pressing when the two come face-to-face with the warriors of the fearsome Seal Prince (Tahar Rahim).

Produced by Duncan Kenworthy and also co-starring Donald Sutherland, THE EAGLE’s screenplay is adapted by Jeremy Brock from Rosemary Sutcliff’s classic novel The Eagle of the Ninth.

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About the Contributor

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.

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