Friday, January 06, 2006

The Lantern Bearers, Rosemary Sutcliffe

The Lantern Bearers, Rosemary Sutcliffe
(Oxford University Press, 1959; Sunburst, 1994), 280 pages.

We have read several Rosemary Sutcliffe books by now, and though this is the first one I am posting about it is not the first we read.

This story concerns a young Briton, Aquila, who is a Roman soldier but stays behind when Rome withdraws from Britain. The story then focuses on the invasion of the Saxons, from Aquila’s enslavement by Jutes to his regained freedom, and fighting alongside the remnants of Roman leadership and British tribes against the invading Saxon tribes.

Sutcliffe, as seems typical from what I have read of her so far, is very reliable with her historical data, making this a good way to learn this era of history. Then, battles were central enough to this story line that my boys enjoyed this one. However, it was really written for an audience significantly older, so a number of the issues and concerns were really lost to them. My boys ranked this as one of the books they most enjoyed in our 2005 reading, but they do not realize how much adapting I did in reading it to them- (adapting and interpreting on the fly is an important ability for reading to your children, in my opinion).

So, this is a good book, but probably more suited for children about 12 years old or older. Of course if you can adapt a bit and clarify my seven and nine year old really enjoyed it.


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