Publishers Farrar, Straus and Giroux produced a teachers’ and readers’ guide about the books of Rosemary Sutcliff (that they pubished!). It is undated, covering ” the award-winning trilogy set in Roman Britain as well as Outcast, The Shining Company, Sword Song, Tristan and Iseult, and Warrior Scarlet”. The historical novels of Rosemary Sutcliff, it says:
… are based on extensive research, a love of storytelling, and a keen desire to relate the important themes of love and loyalty, honor and duty, courage and faith to children. Her training as a painter and her gifted way with words combine to create vivid descriptions of times past and lands unknown. She once said:
“To know where we started from and by what road we came to be where we are now — and to know this not only in an academic way, but also with other emotions, not only with our heads but with our hearts, must surely be helping us in coping with the world in which we are today.”
Taking a blank page like a white canvas, Sutcliff paints the smells and sounds of
a battlefield, the colors of an emerald signet ring, the melody of harp strings, the emotions between two lovers, the conflict between father and son, and the bond between master and servant. She re-creates all the customs, rites, and ceremonies of the Bronze Age and Roman Britain clans and the tribes of the Dark Ages and medieval England.
She does this with eloquent language, fast action, and well-developed characters. She writes with honesty and authenticity, never jeopardizing the truth, nor tempering the violence in early British history. She respects her readers and tells them things they need to know, but at the same time gives them a good story.