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The Lantern Bearers [Paperback]

Rosemary Sutcliff
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 9 2010 Roman Britain Trilogy (Book 3)

The last of the Roman army have set sail and left Britain forever, abandoning it to civil war and the threat of a Saxon invasion. Aquila, a young Legionnaire, deserted his regiment to stay behind with his family, but his home and all that he loves are destroyed. Years of hardship and fighting follow, and in the end, there is only one thing left in Aquila’s life—his thirst for revenge...

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Product Description


“A spellbinding historical adventure... Smoothly written, fast-paced, remarkable in the atmosphere it evokes.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Winner of the Carnegie Medal
An ALA Notable Book

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1 map --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
AQUILA halted on the edge of the hanging woods, looking down. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By Amy
I feel strangely unsatisfied with this book. I liked the attention to detail and atmosphere as well as the historical context and references, especially to 'Artos' and his father 'Utha' - very subtly done. There were some moments of incredible bitter-sweetness, such as when Aquila watches the Romans leave without him at Rutupiae Light.The characters were well-drawn, a few lines of description necessary to give a good impression of each. There's nothing to really criticise; it was a very solid piece of work. However, I certainly wouldn't want to re-read it - I wonder why? I think perhaps the main character, Aquila, just didn't click with me. His bleakness and bitterness was understandable but it meant he never really interacted with any other characters as a friend - deliberately done, but it made for quite monotonous reading. We never saw closely into any other characters; there were brief, well-written encounters with people, but nothing very fulfilling. I find that I enjoy a book most if it has good characterisation, and while Aquila was sufficiently bitter for his role, I found him lifeless (perhaps I was meant to? I certainly didn't enjoy reading about him though...) and the other characters not well fleshed-out enough. Years and events flashed by, and before I knew it Aquila was getting old, and I still didn't really know him, or the people around him, even his wife. Events were sketched over and I never felt caught up in the story entirely because of the jumps forward in time. However, there was a lot of beautful imagery in this book, right down to the last sentence; that's what kept me reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Keeping the light ... Oct. 9 2000
Set in the brief Romano-Celtic twilight between the end of the Roman Empire and the creation of Anglo-Saxon Britain, this is the story of Aquila, a Roman soldier who chooses to stay among his adopted people. However, his world crashes to pieces when he and his sister are enslaved by the Saxons, their father slain and their farm destroyed. Aquila eventually escapes, but his sister, now married with a Saxon son, makes her own choice to stay with the invaders. Aquila is embittered and angry, and the remainder of the story is his redemption, helped by a kindly priest, his celtic wife from an arranged maarriage, and the Romano-British leader, Ambrosius, whose friend he becomes. I first read this book in my early teens, and it has stayed with me ever since. The themes of irreparable loss, vengance and redemption are quite adult, but not at such a level that adult or teen cannot appreciate them. Sutcliffe brilliantly captures the heroic twilight of the Dark Ages, and makes it utterly convincing. She also wrote a longer sequel called "Sword at Sunset" (use the out-of-print service) based on the Arthur legends - Aquila appears as a minor (older) character, Arthur appears as a young warrior Artos in "Lantern Bearers". Both books are highly recommended for adults, "The Lantern Bearers" for teens and adults.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book will make you cry May 24 2003
By A Customer
Although the third book in the trilogy about the family with the dolphin ring, The Lantern Bearers is maybe for more mature readers.
(Notice I said more mature, NOT older.) One of the things I love most about this book is that, even though it is sad, the sadness is REAL, not Romeo-and-Juliet type, with a tragic ending. The ending is not exactly hopeful about the future of England, but Aquila has finally found inner peace. However, the middle, in which Aquila is a slave of the Jutes (not Saxons, that's just what the British called all the invaders), and when he- oops! Don't want to give away the story!- is very bitter, and that's why it's perhaps for MORE MATURE readers. This book is one of Rosemary Sutcliff's best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just magic! Dec 4 1996
By A Customer
How do I put this? Sublime, perhaps? Romemary Sutcliff wonthe Carnegie Medal for this book in 1959, and it well deserved it. I first read The Lantern Bearers as a school text, and was enthralled by the high adventure and the evocative story. I have read it three or four times in the six years since then, and each time I have read it differently. Do not be put off by the fact that The Lantern Bearers is a children's book; the language is simple, but the story is not. Sutcliffe has created a multi-layered masterpiece, at once an historical adventure, an exploration of the heights and depths of the human experience and - I believe - a searching social critique. It is easily my favourite novel. Read it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Adult Reading!!! March 19 2001
By A Customer
I am an avid adult reader of Arthurian legends. I read this book after hearing it is a prequel to The Sword at Sunset, also by Rosemary Sutcliff, and I loved it. I am captivated by the romance and chivalry of this passionate era in our history - and also by the great battle scenes as described by the better authors of this legend (Bernard Cornwell in particular). This book kept my adult interest and made me more anxious than ever to get to The Sword of Sunset...a continuation of the story line in The Lantern Bearers where a young Artos is introduced to us - and by the end of the book can be recognized as the great King Arthur to come.
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By A Customer
Wonderful story of Aquila, a young Roman cavalryman who chooses to remain in Britain after Rome recalls her armies to defend her crumbling frontiers. His friendship and loyalty to his sister is tested through captivity by the invading Saxons. Aquila joins the legendary leader Ambrosius in his fight to preserve the last dregs of Roman civilization in Britain against the invading Saxon barbarians. He meets the boy who becomes the even more legendary Arthur. This story is a excellent prequel to Sutcliff's best book: Sword At Sunset.
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