Reading Chapter 3 of Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff and wishing that I could read whilst peering from behind my hands, the same way I watched almost all of the Lord of The Rings movies. ( I've only seen the scenes with the elves in. Nothing bad happens when Legolas is around. )
It's the girls' new read-aloud. Marcus, a young Roman, has taken charge of a Roman fort in Britain and Chapter 3 involves a battle between the British and the men of the fort. Any other time, I'd be on the side of the Druids - battle-thirsty, charging with their feather-tipped spears under a new moon. Today, I was desperate for Rome to prevail, testimony to the force of the writing and the skill with which Rosemary Sutcliff has developed her main character.
She has a beautiful technique. I talked to Lucy about it the day we began the book, the way she creates immediacy through dialogue, before describing the setting (allowing us to picture ourselves both in the action and in the scene ) before moving on to explanation, exposition.
Chapter 3 ends with the heroic Marcus sacrificing himself under the wheels of a British chariot in order to gain his men extra time to retreat to their fort. I peeked at the next chapter and luckily Marcus has somehow survived. I know this might mean that I need more of a life, but this book is really exciting!