In AD 119 four thousand soldiers of the Roman Ninth Legion march into the wilds of Northern Britain to quell a Caledonian uprising. They are never seen again. Legends abound as to their fate. Were they swallowed up by the mists that shroud this darkest fringe of the Empire? Did Queen Boudicca put a curse on the legion that crushed the Iceni? Of one thing there is no doubt: the honour of the Ninth has been lost with the legion's bronze eagle standard, and cannot be restored until the eagle is returned to Rome. Fourteen years after his father disappeared with the Ninth, Marcus Flavius Aquila experiences 'the glory of his first command' in the south-west of Britain. But his dreams of a military career are shattered when he is seriously wounded saving his garrison from a tribal rebellion. Invalided out of the army, Marcus sinks into despondency. What direction should his life take now? Gradually, however, as he makes his recovery at his uncle's villa, Marcus realises this is his chance to set foot in the uncharted territory beyond Hadrian's Wall - to solve the mystery of the lost legion . . .
Rosemary Sutcliff has an extraordinary ability to bring history alive for her readers. With its powerful evocation of the creeping mists and simmering feuds of early Roman Britain, and the symbolic quest at its heart, the Eagle of the Ninth is one of the best - and best-loved - of Sutcliff's historical novels.
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