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Extended Audio Sample The Lantern Bearers Audiobook, by Rosemary Sutcliff Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (751 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rosemary Sutcliff Narrator: Johanna Ward Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Eagle of the Ninth Series Release Date: February 2015 ISBN: 9781504627436
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When the last of the Roman Auxiliaries leave Britain forever, they abandon the country to internal strife and the menace of invasion by Saxons. These are dark days indeed for Aquila, a young Roman officer who returns to his family villa to find all that he loves destroyed by the invaders. He escapes slavery only to learn that his sister has married a Saxon, and the knowledge fills him with bitterness. It takes many years of hardship and strenuous fighting under the Roman-British leader Ambrosius before Aquila finds a measure of contentment, learned partly from the kind and gentle Brother Ninnias, partly from the loving loyalty of his wife Ness, and partly from an encounter with his sister’s son who is fighting with the enemy. This exciting chronicle, full of stirring incident and bitter conflict, brings to vivid life the turbulent period before the Dark Ages.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A spellbinding historical adventure.”

    Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

  • “This is historical fiction at its best. Post Roman Britain comes alive in this novel. The characters are all believable and no matter how small a part they play they are complete, as is the plot—no strands are left loose.”

    Historical Novels Review

  • “This is an exciting chronicle full of stirring incident and bitter conflict. With her customary skill, Rosemary Sutcliff brings vividly to life the turbulent period of her story, the time when the last of the Romans in Britain were struggling to carry forward what light they could into the Dark Ages that were to follow.”

    Henry Z. Walck, Inc. 

  • “A book that rewards careful reading and that tells a good story.” 

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the 1959 Carnegie Medal for Literature

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 David | 2/16/2014

    " Bitter hero seeking revenge grows up. Stirring. Great battle scenes and historical color. Sutcliff's classics hold up very well indeed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rik | 2/16/2014

    " The best book in the series. As with the other two books, I felt that I was reading a factual account of post Roman Britain. I liked the idea that the Roman Britains did not deliberatly loose the Roman aspects to their lives, but the invaders never had them, and in this way much was lost. A great story, well told. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 booklady | 2/4/2014

    " I really need to reread these because I don't remember the individual plots--only that they were excellent and that I devoured them! I'm giving this only 4 stars because it took me a week to finish, but that may be unfair. It might be a 5 star and I just took longer to read it because we were busy then. It was 3 years ago. Anyway, I know it was really, really good! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marilou | 1/18/2014

    " The Lantern Bearers tells of a British born soldier of the Roman Legion (4th century A.D.?) during the pull out of the Legions who were called back to save Rome from the invading barbarians. Aquila is at once a Brit, a Roman, and must deal with invading Saxons. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Johan | 1/15/2014

    " Really liked it as a historical novel; far darker than The Eagle of the Ninth it takes a while to adjust to the dour hero Aquila. Still as an historical recreation, it remains a wonderful read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Johnny Mcclean | 12/7/2013

    " Great read, maybe not quite as good as the Eagle of the Ninth but definitely hard to put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judith | 11/25/2013

    " Actually really made me think what happened when the Roman's left.... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 11/15/2013

    " I do enjoy her historical fiction. I think these books have been worthwhile. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elaine Atkins | 9/5/2013

    " Slow start and strong finish. This was a great trilogy, just wish the characters had been more intertwined. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sara | 7/6/2013

    " Historical Fiction like no other. This remote and difficult time comes to life with authentic detail and emotion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 7/22/2012

    " There is probably a book by Rosemary Sutcliff that will not make me cry. This is not that book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gwen Burrow | 4/3/2012

    " My favorite Sutcliff. Her writing is always a bit dark, but pleasing nonetheless, and (hallelujah!) she develops her characters without over describing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alarra | 3/14/2012

    " This was beautifully written and so so sad. While The Eagle was a great read (though it fades toward the end), and the Silver Branch is a good romp, this is the one that felt so much more real and complete and compelling. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Suzanne | 4/7/2011

    " One of the bleakest and most depressing books ever. It is totally worth it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 2/1/2011

    " I do enjoy her historical fiction. I think these books have been worthwhile. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Eyebright | 9/14/2010

    " Very good book, although still not as good as the first or
    second, in my opinion. I love reading about Britian in the early days. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Josh | 9/10/2009

    " this is my favorite of Sutcliff's large writings on the vague British history between Roman imperial rule -> native rule -> and new invasions.

    I luv teen fiction.
    I luv old stories.
    =
    v.good for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Microchiroptera | 7/22/2009

    " There's something so solid about her characters- they're people captured in their real state, with barely the veneer of their own pretensions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gwen | 6/12/2009

    " My favorite Sutcliff. Her writing is always a bit dark, but pleasing nonetheless, and (hallelujah!) she develops her characters without over describing. "

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About the Author
Author Rosemary Sutcliff

Rosemary Sutcliff (1920–1992) was born in Surrey, England. A voracious private reader, she left her regular studies at fourteen to attend art school. In 1950 her first children’s book was published, and from then on, she devoted her time and talents to writing children’s historical novels. Many of her books are set in Roman Britain, a period that particularly interested her. She received the OBE in 1975 and, in 1992, was awarded the CBE. She was still writing on the morning of her death at the age of seventy-two.

About the Narrator

Johanna Ward (a.k.a. Kate Reading) is an Audie® Award–winning narrator and has received numerous Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others. She and her husband live in Hyattsville, Maryland, with their two children.