|YMMV • Radar • Quotes • (Funny • Heartwarming • Awesome) • Fridge • Characters • Fanfic Recs • Nightmare Fuel • Shout Out • Plot • Tear Jerker • Headscratchers • Trivia • WMG • Recap • Ho Yay • Image Links • Memes • Haiku • Laconic • Source • Setting|
Sometime about A.D. 117, the Ninth Legion, which was stationed at Eburacum, where York now stands, marched north, and was never heard of again.
—Excerpt from the introduction
The Rosemary Sutcliff historical novel published in 1954 about a young Roman soldier named Marcus Flavius Aquila who goes on a quest to find the eagle standard of his father. It is loosely based on the mystery of the real Roman Ninth Legion, which disappears from the historical record after having last been mentioned as present in Scotland in the early 2nd century. This book sets up later novels featuring descendents of the protagonist. The 2011 film The Eagle is based upon this novel, but the earlier (1977) BBC TV series (titled The Eagle of the Ninth) is a more faithful adaption (perhaps because the 2011 film omits some characters and events for the sake of brevity).
This book (and the 1977 TV series) provide examples of:
- Big Friendly Dog: Cub, who is actually a wolf.
- Blue Blood: Placidus, who has a bit of a case of Aristocrats Are Evil, and technically Marcus, too, who is said to be of the Equestrian class, a Roman knight.
- Call to Agriculture: Marcus, Esca, and Cottia. Their farm is still there a century later.
- Chased by Angry Natives: They managed to subvert it once, but then Esca dropped the brooch.
- Disappeared Dad: Marcus's father.
- Fiery Redhead: Cottia
- Finish Him!: The amphitheatre crowd tries to do this to Esca, but Marcus and his uncle intervene.
- Girl Next Door: Cottia again.
- Gladiator Games: Esca, for a while.
- Going Native: Guern.
- Have a Gay Old Time:
Cottia: Where is Cub?
- Heroes Want Redheads: Marcus and Cottia get married at 15 and 21-ish, and it's confirmed in The Silver Branch.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Marcus and Esca.
- Jerkass: Tribune Servius Placidus
- Let's Get Out of Here: Marcus and Esca as soon as they rob the shrine.
- Lost Roman Legion: Marcus's father served with one.
- MacGuffin: The Eagle standard.
- Made a Slave: Esca, until he gets manumitted in a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. Aww!
- Meaningful Name: Marcus Flavius AQUILA. Aquila is Latin for "eagle."
- The Natives Are Restless: Cohort Commander Marcus is told "There is apt to be trouble coming" when he arrives at the camp.
- Order Versus Chaos: Roman colonization of Britain.
Esca: You are the builders of coursed stone walls, the makers of straight roads and ordered justice and disciplined troops.
Marcus: You don't like being a freed-man, do you? Well, I don't like being lame.
- Redheaded Stepchild: Cottia, and it even went on to say that her stepfather didn't want her around.
- The Roman Empire: About AD 125, in the faraway colony of Britannia.
- She Is All Grown Up: Cottia after returning from holiday in Aquae Sulis/Bath.
Marcus: Why Cottia, you have grown up!
- Stupid Sexy Flanders: Marcus and Esca have their moments when Placidus is around; Marcus especially when he lovingly describes Placidus's appearance.
Esca: He was a splendid young Tribune, smooth as a girl!