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Based on the results of our poll a few weeks ago, we've decided that Swap sign-ups will begin April 8th. This means there is plenty of time to Read More Sutcliff before things get started!

Squee about your favorite Sutcliff book in the comments here! This is your chance to remind others of that book they'd almost forgotten they'd loved, and inspire them to request or offer fanfiction or fanart for it. And if a book you haven't read sounds good to you, you can read it before sign-ups, and maybe you'll be inspired to request or offer for it.

We're doing this on Dreamwidth only so that we can use comment subject lines. Feel free to start a thread about your favorite book or three; put the name of the book in the subject line. If you don't have a Dreamwidth login, you can use OpenID or comment anonymously. Please join in, tell us about your favorite Sutcliff books, and start thinking about what you might want to request and offer for the Sutcliff Swap!

This post has a list of all of Rosemary Sutcliff's books.
This is last year's source promotion post.

Also, if you are intrigued by the descriptions of books you haven't read yet, you should be sure to join, not just watch, the community (at either site) so you can see locked posts. *cough*

A Circlet of Oak Leaves

Date: 2013-02-14 01:09 am (UTC)
carmarthen: "Would you like my hat?" (Default)
From: [personal profile] carmarthen
"A Circlet of Oak Leaves" is a short story (under 8000 words, iirc), which makes it a nice easy canon to pick up.

HERE BE SPOILERS.

It is about Aracos, a Dacian medic who once swapped places with his friend Felix, who was afraid of battle. Aracos was later discharged for a heart murmur, and Felix received the Corona Civica for the deeds actually done by Aracos.

The thing that gets me about this story is that it feels like a missed chance to be BFFs: the lying creates a bitterness that seems to destroy their incipient friendship even before Aracos is discharged, and Aracos doesn't let go of that bitterness until after Felix dies. I felt like they never had the chance to be the friends (or lovers, I guess, if you read it that way) they could have been--that they lost something they'd never had. It also seems like a story that could easily have been much longer.

I'd love to see something from Felix's point of view, scenes from their budding friendship before things went sour, an AU where things went differently, ghost fic where Aracos and Felix reconcile face-to-face (so to speak)...really, anything MORE about this story would be wonderful.

Outcast

Date: 2013-02-14 05:23 am (UTC)
riventhorn: (eagle women)
From: [personal profile] riventhorn
I read Outcast thanks to a comment on last year's post and loved it. It centers on Beric, whose father was a legionary, but his parents died shortly after he was born and he was adopted into a British tribe. Due to reasons, he is outcast from the tribe and then is made a slave in Rome. There is much sadness and angst. But then--Justinius. I adore Justinius. He is an engineer in Britain, and he saves Beric and takes care of him and--♥♥♥

If you like h/c at all, you will love this book. There are many interesting secondary characters, too. And Justinius. If you like age difference, Justinius/Beric could definitely be slashed.

Re: Outcast

Date: 2013-02-14 06:45 pm (UTC)
riventhorn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] riventhorn
Personally I prefer them in more of a father/son type of relationship, as it's presented in the book. I don't know that I could slash them because yeah, I think Justinius really does view him as his son. But you know, anything to entice readers. :)

Re: Outcast

Date: 2013-02-14 11:27 pm (UTC)
carmarthen: "Would you like my hat?" (Default)
From: [personal profile] carmarthen
I long for a happy Beric/Jason AU! And there's potential Beric & Random Centurion Dude adventures in Dacia.

Plus tons of potential for crossover with Eagle of the Ninth, since they're so close in time, where Beric meets Marcus, Esca, and Cottia, or their kids, or Guinhumara's kid, or Guern's kids...

I'm really fond of Lucilla and her pragmatic but hopefully happy marriage, too...

Re: Outcast

Date: 2013-02-15 12:47 am (UTC)
riventhorn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] riventhorn
I really like Lucilla, too, and her husband seems like he could be an interesting character.

Ooh, and Eagle crossover--that's a great idea!

Re: Outcast

Date: 2013-02-15 01:06 am (UTC)
carmarthen: "Would you like my hat?" (Default)
From: [personal profile] carmarthen
It was [profile] isiscolo's idea! I brainstormed some possible crossover ideas here, but haven't managed to write any of them yet.

Re: Outcast

Date: 2013-02-15 01:25 am (UTC)
riventhorn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] riventhorn
Those are all such great prompts! I may have to adopt one at some point. :)

Re: Outcast

Date: 2013-02-15 01:46 am (UTC)
carmarthen: "Would you like my hat?" (Default)
From: [personal profile] carmarthen
Please do! I'd love to see more Outcast fic from you.

SWALLOWS IN THE SPRING

Date: 2013-02-14 08:55 am (UTC)
ext_189645: (Default)
From: [identity profile] bunn.livejournal.com
This is a very short story (just 2482 words) that takes your heart and wrings it like a dishcloth in the way Sutcliff does so well.

The narrator is Dexius, an old career soldier, telling the younger men about someting he saw as a young man "when I first came marching in under the gate arch, as raw as you lot, it wasn’t ten years since the old Legion marched North."

And the story itself is about Centurion Fulvius, who was a Centurion of the Ninth, and was one of the men Marcus mentions about in Eagle of the Ninth who didn't march North with the Eagle, and how he feels about that, and about ... other echoes of the Ninth in Eburacum. (I won't spoil the ending, because, omg, the angst. It made me cry.)

You could easily cross it over with Eagle of the Ninth (Claudius Hieronimianus? Placidus? Maybe even Guern?)

I'd love to know more about poor Centurion Fulvius - why he didn't go North with the Ninth, whether he lost any particular friends. And maybe give him a bit of happy followup to the story, to make up for the angst? There's just a hint, too that there may be a friendship with Dexius in future, too - Dexius certainly seems to be keeping an eye on Fulvius...

Re: SWALLOWS IN THE SPRING

Date: 2013-02-14 06:47 pm (UTC)
riventhorn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] riventhorn
Is this available in a book format on its own or is it part of a collection of stories?

Blood Feud

Date: 2013-02-14 11:36 pm (UTC)
carmarthen: "Would you like my hat?" (Default)
From: [personal profile] carmarthen
Blood Feud is starting to look like a real fandom after Yuletide 2012 (hooray!), but there's still more potential. It's set in 10th century Viking Rus and Constantinople, and follows the adventures of Saxon/British Jestyn, taken as a thrall and later freed by Thormod, a Danish Viking. They go off on the blood feud of the title, and have Adventures.

I love this book for its setting, in part--I think it's a fascinating time and place, on the cusp between the ancient world and the medieval, and it's rarely explored in fiction. Plus there's tons of fic potential. Jestyn/Thormod is subtext with a hammer, complete with Achilles and Patroclus references, but hopefully [livejournal.com profile] xthursdaynextx will come along and talk about them, because I think she's more enthusiastic than I am.

There are other possibilities! I think Jestyn and his canon love interest Alexia are absolutely adorable (she teaches him to read!), and it could be really cool to see some of their post-canon life together as Jestyn becomes a doctor. Anders, one of the brothers Thormod feuds with, is peculiarly fascinating despite being a minor character, and the souring of his friendship with Thormod is one of the few times in the book Thormod shows any kind of crack in his Bluff Manly Cheerful Viking facade--lots of backstory or during-canon angst potential there, slashy or not. And an AU where Anders survives could be really interesting, and potentially include Jestyn/Anders or maybe Alexia/Jestyn/Anders. There are also some intriguing minor characters, particularly the half-native-Rus Erland Silkbeard.

The narrative of the book is fitted around real historical events surrounding the founding of the Varangian Guard, so there are a lot of bits of history that could be pulled in as plot hooks as well.

The Truce of the Games / A Crown of Wild Olive

Date: 2013-02-19 11:01 pm (UTC)
hedgebird: "Fuck it. I'm gonna go be an airplane." (Ballerina)
From: [personal profile] hedgebird
"The Truce of the Games", or "A Crown of Wild Olive", is a short story of about 8000 words. It's one of only four stories Sutcliff set in ancient Greece, and fittingly, it's about the ethics of competition, friendship, and patriotism. Mary Renault fans take note.

The action of the plot is largely internal to the protagonist, but in essence: In the midst of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, two boys representing them in the Olympic games become fast friends. A Spoiler threatens the integrity of their contest, and they must resolve their duties to their states, their friend, their own honour, and the gods. /vague

For me, the appeal of Truce is the ethical conflict whose resolution feels satisfying (imo) to both ancient and modern mores; the unobtrusively researched picture of Olympia; and most of all the impossibility of Amyntas and Leon's situation: whatever happens during the truce, they can never meet again untainted by the war.

Obviously, we need fic where they do meet again, after - history spoilers - Athens finally and brutally loses the war. Or about their experience of military life and how it's coloured by their friendship - or vice versa. Or a crossover with Sutcliff's The Flowers of Adonis or Renault's The Last of the Wine. Or anything.

The story's in The Truce of the Games and Heather, Oak, and Olive, but the mods may be able to, uh, advise you about finding it.

TL;DR: Greece, sports, slice of life, war-crossed bromance

Eagle's Egg

Date: 2013-03-02 09:58 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Such a cute short story, about a standard-bearer who wants to marry his girlfriend Cordaella, but who has to be promoted first. Cordaella reminds me strongly of Cottia - I'd love to see more about her and her brother.

The Lantern Bearers

Date: 2013-03-02 10:04 am (UTC)
ext_189645: (Default)
From: [identity profile] bunn.livejournal.com
I've just realised that neither this year nor last year did I talk about The Lantern Bearers - one of my absolute Sutcliff favorites, with loads of interesting themes and a ton of heartbreak.

The Lantern Bearers is the direct prequel to Sword at Sunset, and deals with mostly the same characters. The protagonist is Aquila, (descendant of Marcus Flavius Aquila of Eo9) and heir to the little farm on the Downs, which is described for the last time, a little run down now, but still very precious. The Legions are gone from Britain, but there's still a force of Auxiliaries manning the coasts and trying to keep back the Saxon hordes... until the word comes from Gaul - they are being withdrawn. Aquila has to choose whether to stay in Britain with his blind father and his sister Flavia, or obey orders. He chooses Britain, but things don't go well.

Along with 'Outcast', anyone who feels that Sutcliff is too fluffy about slavery being a Bad Thing really should read this one. Aquila is seized by Saxon raiders and carried off to be a thrall. So is his sister Flavia, who we meet later with a Saxon husband and baby. (Three stories about Flavia in last year's swap, and personally I would be delighted to read more...)

So Aquila escapes from being a thrall after having a fairly grim time of it, and makes his way back to Welsh Wales, where the young Arthos (Arthur) is growing up under the protection of his uncle Ambrosius, the last hope of Roman/British Britain. Ambrosius takes Aquila in and gives him a sword to fight the Saxons! And there is much loyalty, and the fragile values of peace and civilisation slowly seeping away, and war-like values coming in to replace them.

Ambrosius makes Aquila marry a chief's daughter (Ness) to secure an alliance. Because Aquila is seriously messed up after being a thrall, he is rather a bastard both as a husband and later as a father. The saddest thing is that he kind of knows it, having had a peaceful and loving up-bringing himself, but he doesn't seem to be able to break out of the pattern.

I would love to read about Ness and Aquila and their son, and whether Aquila is really as horrible to Ness as he thinks he is and how she feels about it. Or anything about Ambrosius. Actually, Vortigern is quite an intriguing character too, his motivations are interesting...

Anyway, it's all Dark Age and pre-Arthurian and a bit heroic and very angsty, and always makes me cry.

Re: The Lantern Bearers

Date: 2013-03-22 02:31 am (UTC)
carmarthen: "Would you like my hat?" (Default)
From: [personal profile] carmarthen
I really hope this is the year of Everyone Deals With Our Ness Issues, like last year was Flavia Issues.

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