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The Silver Branch

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The Silver Branch

The Eagle of the Ninth Series, Book 2
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More than a century after The Eagle of the Ninth leaves off, two cousins join the Roman side in the fight against a tyrannical British emperor.
More than a century after The Eagle of the Ninth leaves off, two cousins join the Roman side in the fight against a tyrannical British emperor.
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Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
    1120
  • Interest Level:
  • Reading Level:
    7 - 9


 
Description-
  • More than a century after The Eagle of the Ninth leaves off, two cousins join the Roman side in the fight against a tyrannical British emperor.

Excerpts-
  • Copyright © 1957 by Rosemary Sutcliff.

    The Saxon Shore

    On a blustery autumn day a galley was nosing up the wide loop of a British river that widened into the harbour of Rutupiae.

    The tide was low, and the mud-banks at either hand that would be covered at high tide were alive with curlew and sandpiper. And out of the waste of sandbank and sour salting, higher and nearer as the time went by, rose Rutupiae: the long, whale-backed hump of the island and the grey ramparts of the fortress, with the sheds of the dockyard massed below it.

    The young man standing on the fore-deck of the galley watched the fortress drawing nearer with a sense of expectancy; his thoughts reaching alternately forward to the future that waited for him there, and back to a certain interview that he had had with Licinius, his Cohort Commander, three months ago, at the other end of the Empire. That had been the night his posting came through.

    "You do not know Britain, do you?" Licinius had said.

    Justin—Tiberius Lucius Justinianus, to give him his full name as it was inscribed on the record tablets of the Army Medical Corps at Rome—had shaken his head, saying with the small stutter that he could never quite master, "N-no, sir. My grandfather was born and bred there, but he settled in Nicaea when he left the Eagles."

    "And so you will be eager to see the province for yourself."

    "Yes, sir, only—I scarcely expected to be sent there with the Eagles."

    He could remember the scene so vividly. He could see Licinius watching him across the crocus flame of the lamp on his table, and the pattern that the wooden scroll-ends made on their shelves, and the fine-blown sand-wreaths in the corners of the mud-walled office; he could hear distant laughter in the camp, and, far away, the jackals crying; and Licinius's dry voice:

    "Only you did not know we were so friendly with Britain, or rather, with the man who has made himself Emperor of Britain?"

    "Well, sir, it does seem strange. It is only this spring that Maximian sent the Caesar C-Constantius to drive him out of his Gaulish territory."

    "I agree. But there are possible explanations to these postings from other parts of the Empire to the British Legions. It may be that Rome seeks, as it were, to keep open the lines of communication. It may be that she does not choose that Marcus Aurelius Carausius should have at his command Legions that are completely cut away from the rest of the Empire. That way comes a fighting force that follows none but its own leader and owns no ties whatsoever with Imperial Rome." Licinius had leaned forward and shut down the lid of the bronze ink-stand with a small deliberate click. "Quite honestly, I wish your posting had been to any other province of the Empire."

    Justin had stared at him in bewilderment. "Why so, sir?"

    "Because I knew your father, and therefore take a certain interest in your welfare...How much do you in fact understand about the situation in Britain? About the Emperor Carausius, who is the same thing in all that matters?"

    "Very little, I am afraid, sir."

    "Well then, listen, and maybe you will understand a little more. In the first place, you can rid your mind of any idea that Carausius is framed of the same stuff as most of the six-month sword-made Emperors we have had in the years before Diocletian and Maximian split the Purple between them. He is the son of a German father and a Hibernian mother, and that is a mixture to set the sparks flying; born and bred in one of the trading-stations that the Manopeans of the German sea set up long since in Hibernia, and only came back to his father's people when he reached manhood. He was a Scaldis river-pilot...

About the Author-
  • ROSEMARY SUTCLIFF is the author of 50 historical novels for children. The third book in the Roman Britain trilogy, The Lantern Bearers, won the Carnegie Medal in 1959, and Tristan and Iseult was a runner up in 1972. She also won the first Phoenix Award in 1985 for The Mark of the Horse Lord and the most recent in 2010 for The Shining Company. Rosemary Sutcliff received an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) for services to Children's Literature in 1975 and in 1993, the year after her death, was promoted to CBE (Commander of the British Empire).

Title Information+
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    Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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The Silver Branch
The Silver Branch
The Eagle of the Ninth Series, Book 2
Rosemary Sutcliff
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The Eagle of the Ninth Series, Book 2
Rosemary Sutcliff
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