Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Revisiting the past

While browsing the used book shop, I came across an old, old copy of EAGLE OF THE NINTH by Rosemary Sutcliff. I couldn't wait to get it home - I remember reading the book in one big gulp when I was a kid. I was the bookish child who read constantly, so much so that my mother would have to throw me out of the house to get some fresh air. (This changed a bit once horses came into my life, but books ranked right up there with saddles and boots.) Historical fiction was my mainstay, and Rosemary Sutcliff was the queen of that domain. When T.H.White's THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING came out, his book was the only one dealing with the Arthur legend that came anywhere near equalling Miss Sutcliff's mastery of that tale. (I read that one in school, non-stop, holding it under my desk and pretending to study whatever the lesson was in class. Got caught by my history teacher, who checked out TOAFK, handed it back to me, and said "keep reading.")

I didn't realize Miss Sutcliff was crippled by juvenile arthritis until reading a biography recently. Despite her physical handicap, she wrote active, living, breathing, filled-with-life heroes. History came alive in their adventures. Inspiration comes to writers in many forms, and I can say, in all sincerity, that Rosemary Sutcliff was an author who inspired me. One day, I hope to achieve half her skill, style, and power with the written word. I should thank her as well for inspiring me to take Latin in school. Latin saved my fanny when it comes to English grammar.


Anthony said...


For reasons that will be clear from I have a google alert about Rosemary Sutcliff so was alerted today to this lovely post. Thank you.

May I use it at the blog?

I grew up with Rosemary as my godmother and knew her well. Maybe some of her skill and stories and heroes were in some ways because of or at least influenced by the fact of being very ill as a child and then living with disability all her life - physical disability. She was in all other respects very very able .....


Tracy D said...

Anthony, what a pure pleasure to hear from someone who knew Miss Sutcliff well. You certainly may use this at your blog. I would be honored.

I'm having such fun re-reading EAGLE OF THE NINTH. It's pulling me into the story once more, and I hate to put it down.

I've had several historial westerns published, and I like to think that my love of history mixed with fiction started with your godmother's books. Thank you for writing.

CJ Parker said...

Okay, I'm off to the book stores tomorrow to find some of her books. I was just complaining to my hubby that I couldn't find a good book to read.