Sunday, September 11, 2005

Rosemary Sutcliff Bibliography

A listing (with images of covers) on the Fantastic Fiction site.

Film of The Eagle of the Ninth

According to the Scotsman newpaper some two years ago, there are three films in preparation related to the disappearance of the Ninth Legion. The report notes that "Duncan Kenworthy, London-based producer of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually, acquired the film rights to Rosemary's The Eagle of the Ninth, which has sold more than a million copies since its appearance in 1954, and was made into a BBC mini-series shot in Aberdeenshire in the 1970s."

Tullie House - museum and art gallery in Carlisle, Cumbria, Lake District, UK

Those who read The Eagle of the Ninth will be thrilled (according to the Guardian!), as I was, to know that in Tullie House Museum in Carlisle is a tile stamped with the insignia of the Roman legion that vanished from the records after being based in northern Britain. (This is the subject of the novel).

Sutcliff and the North East of England

Alan Myers has compiled an "A to Z of the many writers of the past who had a significant connection" with the North-East of England. He writes of Rosemary:

"One of the most distinguished children's writers of our times, Rosemary Sutcliff wrote over thirty books , some of them now considered classics. She sets several of her best-known works in Roman and Dark Age Britain, giving her the opportunity to write about divided loyalties, a recurring theme. The Capricorn Bracelet comprises six linked short stories spanning the years AD 61 to AD 383, and Hadrian's Wall features in the narrative. The Eagle of the Ninth (1954) is perhaps her finest work and exemplifies the psychological dilemmas that Rosemary Sutcliff brought to her novels. It is a quest story involving a journey north to the land of the Picts to recover the lost standard of the Roman Ninth Legion. A good part of the book is set in the North East around Hadrian's Wall (a powerful symbol) and a map is provided. The book has been televised, and its sequels are The Silver Branch (1957) and The Lantern Bearers (1959), which won the Carnegie medal. Sutcliff returned to the Romano-British frontier in The Mark of the Horse Lord (1965) and Frontier Wolf (1980).

Northern Britain in the sixth century AD is the setting of The Shining Company (1990), a retelling of The Goddodin (v. Aneirin) a tragedy of epic proportions. The story, however, is seen from the point of view of the shield-bearers, not the lords eulogised in The Goddodin and treats themes of loyalty, courage and indeed political fantasy."

Commentary on the Roman Britain historical novels

Eric Eller describes himself as "a recovering chemical engineer. After more than enough years puttering around chemical plants, scholarly publishing sounded like more fun and he now works in Publications for the American Chemical Society. Somewhere along the way (I) got an MA in Liberal Studies from the College of Notre Dame, kick-starting (my) interest in literature". This commentary on connections between The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, Frontier Wolf, The Lantern Bearers and Dawn Wind is in the Green Man Review.

He has also written about Sword at Sunset.

Seven Best Historical Children's Novels

I find that Amanda Craig, a writer herself, has cited two books by Rosemary in her Seven Best Historical novels, on Amazon. They are Capricorn Bracelet and The Eagle of the Ninth. If any reader has made similar lists, do tell me.

I have never read any of Amanda's novels, but my wife says that Vicious Circle (a satire on the literary world) was excellent.