I am embarking on a hunt got all the maps that appear in Rosemary Sutcliff books, of all types. I hope readers can help ….

Republished version 2015 of Heather, Oak and Olive

Source: Paul Dry Books

New York Public Library now has  20,000 maps online which are free to download and use. A few are of the Roman Empire”.

.Old map of Roman Empire

Source: New York Public Library map of Roman Empire

Photo of author Kurt Vonnegut

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things–reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them–in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

Source: Medium

The Shining Company by Rosemary Sutcliff cover

On a Bank Holiday Monday in 1988 Rosemary Sutcliff wrote in her diary a rare comment about the progress of the book she was then writing.

Another Bank Holiday! Yesterday’s wind got up again. The pups have spent the whole day yelling to be let out & chasing squirrels. … Think I see my way out of the immediate Catraeth problem, though there are still plenty ahead.

The “Catraeth problem” first surfaced in Rosemary Sutcliff’s diary on 28/8/88. It relates to a battle which features in her novel The Shining Company.

Academic Bill Barnett, from Stanford University Business School, has posted about his view that most successsful business strategies emerge, they are not carefully planned in advance—”Discovery trumps planning”. This accords with the views I have peddled for many years, first at Leicester Management Centre and then Warwick Business School, and latterly as a CEO in the not-for-financial-profit sector in the UK.

But it also made me think of parallels with something Rosemary Sutcliff said once to an interviewer about how she went about writing her novels:

I start with an idea; never a plot. I’m not very strong on plots, but I start from a theme, which grows from the idea. I do have a certain amount of framework: I’ve got to know how I’m going to get from the beginning to the end, and a few ports of call on the way.

I do not write to a standard length. I do not know how long a book’s going to be. I find that a book takes its own time and gets to its own proper ending place.

Dog in Rosemary Sutcliff book illustration by Charles Keeping

Puffin books have redesigned 20 classic books, covering 80 years of children’s fiction — bringing together fairy tales and fantasies, historical adventures and comic mis-adventures, in A Puffin Book list 20 classics.

The Sword and the Circle new 2015 Puffin Edition

Guardian text on Rosemary Sutcliff The Sword and the Circle

All covers here


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