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.
All covers here
In 2010 Joanna R. Smith blogged about reading Rosemary Sutcliff’s Dawn Wind—“gorgeous historical fiction” about Britain in the 6th Century AD. She loved (Rosemary Sutcliff’s): “storytelling and characters, and her talent of letting you hear and see and feel the things in her books. Her prose is quiet and lyrical and compelling, and this is “ Lovely, lovely stuff. The kind of writing I aspire to!”
The moon drifted clear of a long bank of cloud, and the cool slippery light hung for a moment on the crest of the high ground, and then spilled down the gentle bush-grown slope to the river. Between the darkness under the banks the water which had been leaden gray woke into moving ripple-patterns, and a crinkled skin of silver light marked where the paved ford carried across the road from Corinium to Aquae Sulis. Somewhere among the matted islands of rushes and water crowfoot, a moorhen cucked and was still. On the high ground in the loop of the river nothing moved at all, save the little wind that ran shivering through the hawthorn bushes.
Someone recently asked me if there were other novels by Rosemary Sutcliff set in the Bronze Age , apart from Warrior Scarlet. This set me thinking. Helped by a livejournal posting I came across a while back, and based on my own reading (some of it too long ago), I came up with this list—exceluding the re-tellings such as Beowulf. I imagine regular readers here can improve it? Anything missing?
Bronze and Iron Age
The Chief’s Daughter
Sun Horse, Moon Horse
The Flowers of Adonis
The Truce of the Games (A Crown of Wild Olive)
Song for a Dark Queen
The Capricorn Bracelet
The Eagle of the Ninth
The Mark of the Horse Lord
A Circlet of Oak Leaves
The Silver Branch
The Dark Ages
The Lantern Bearers
Sword at Sunset
The Sword and the Circle
The Light Beyond the Forest
The Road to Camlann
The Shining Company
The Shield Ring
The Witch’s Brat
Elizabethan and 16th century
The Armourer’s House
The Queen Elizabeth Story
Lady In Waiting
English Civil War and 17th century
The Rider of the White Horse
Blood and Sand
I came across this page on the internet about who’s who in Rosemary Sutcliff‘s historical novel and re-telling of the King Arthur legend Sword at Sunset. (Without any apparent context, it intrigued me!)
Ambrosius–Aurelius Ambrosius, mentioned in Geoffrey of Monmouth, here Artos’ uncle
Arian–Artos’ first horse; rides him through fiery walls
Posted in Autobiography & Biography, General, The Lantern Bearers, tagged children's literature, Dark & Middle Ages, historical fiction, writing, young adult fiction on 11/12/20112011| Leave a Comment »
The Folio Society’s beautiful version of Rosemary Sutcliff’s award-winning historical novel The Lantern Bearers is the latest of their wonderful reproductions of Rosemary Sutcliff novels. Perhaps a fitting present for someone this Christmas – it can be ordered online?
Winner of the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 1957, The Lantern Bearers is, in some people’s eyes, the best and most thoughtful of Rosemary Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles. Penelope Lively’s, who knew Rosemary well, and spoke at the memorial service we organised for her way back in 1992, has written a special new introduction. She comments:
It is a work of her maturity, one in which she had already honed all her signature skills – her power of narrative, of pace, her way with characters, the rich evocations of a Britain that is gone but that she had recreated. It is full of the creamy surf of meadowsweet alongside crimson cloaks flying in the wind …
This edition is illustrated by the award-winning Russian artist, Roman Pisarev.
Historical and children’s fiction author Rosemary Sutcliff wrote a book for adults (as opposed to children) about King Arthur – Sword at Sunset – a best seller in the UK in 1963. She said twenty years later:
I had determined from the time that I was very young that there was a real person there, and that I would love to find and reconstruct that person. […] Most of the actual research I did for the book (Sword at Sunset), apart from knowing the Arthurian story from the romance versions, was into Dark Age life and history as far as they were known. Then I worked into this setting the Arthur who seemed to me to carry weight, to be the most likely kind of person. It was very strange because I have never written a book which was so possessive. It was extraordinary–almost frightening. […] I would take the book to bed with me at night, and work there until I dropped off to sleep about two o’clock in the morning, too tired to see any more. Then I would wake up about six o’clock, still thinking about it. It was addictive. It was almost like having the story fed through to me, at times. I do my writing usually in three drafts, and I would go from the first to the second draft, from the second to the third, and find bits of the book that I had no recollection of having written at all.
Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth and Warrior Scarlet have been listed by writer Philip Reeve as two of his favourite books, defined as ‘the books which mattered most to me while I was growing up … (which are) well worth tracking down’!.
…or I could have chosen Knight’s Fee, or The Lantern Bearers, or Sun-horse, Moon-horse, or Frontier Wolf… Rosemary Sutcliff is one of my favourite children’s authors, and I doubt she ever wrote a bad book, but these were the two I liked best when I was growing up. (more…)