The Eagle Of The Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Normaly I read a book before I watch the movie based on it. But when I watched "The Eagle" I didn't know there was a book out there. I loved the movie so when I heard about the book I was pretty sure I would like it, too.
And I loved it! I know I did a lot of 5 star reviews lately, but this one really deserved it!
"The Eagle of the ninth" is set in Roman Britain. 12 years ago the ninth legion marched into the mists of Caledonia to battle an uprising. No one ever heard anything from them. Now Marcus Aquila, son of the legion's commander, follows his fathers tracks into the enemy land to find the precious eagle. The standard of the legion and symbol of Rome. He's acompanied only by his slave Esca as they both explore the boundaries of friendship, loyalty, and honor.
So where do I start with my review? There was a lot I loved about the book that was better than the movie (Cottia to name just one), and there were some moments I liked the movie better than the books (Escas Gladtiator scene, for example)...
Rosemary Sutcliff has a really great writing style. She delivers a beautiful image of ancienct Britain and the people living in it, so vivid that you fear and wish the scene comes to life between the pages.
I cannot even pick a scene I liked the most, since there were so many with big symbolism or pure epicness (yes, I have to call it "epicness") in it.
I always liked stories set in the Roman empire or in that time span, especially tales of the ninth legion, because they reminded me of the Varus battle.
Sutcliff gives a great view of the history and culture of those times. I can't imagine how much research she put into that since every piece fits together and each scene seems to be historical correct. She is able to give the reader a feeling for her characters and their relationships which just a few short sentences and reflects on the Roman/Britain society with the same.
I am really and desperately in love with Esca. He has to be one of my favourite characters of all time. All of Sutcliff's characters have their positive and negative trades being more than just three dimensional, you really have the feeling to know those people. Their actions are clear and understandable, leaving you desperate to find out about the outcome of the dangerous adventure Marcus encounters.
It was really great to see the relationship between Marcus and Esca develope, though I think that this point goes to the movie for showing it a little better.
"The Eagle of the ninth" is definitely a must read for everyone who is interested in historical novels. And for everyone who likes to read about friendship and adventure.
Strike that last paragrah, everyone should read the book :D
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