Winning Year: 1959
Author: Rosemary Sutcliff
Title: The Lantern Bearers

Original Publisher: OUP
Current Publisher: Oxford University Press
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780192751799
In Print

The last of the Roman army have set sail and left Britain forever. They have abandoned the country to civil war and the threat of Saxon invasion. When his home and all he loves are destroyed, Aquila endures years of torment. He fights to bring some meaning back into his life and with it the hope of revenge.

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Rosemary Sutcliff was born in Surrey, the daughter of a naval officer. At the age of two she contracted the progressively wasting Still's disease, which meant she spent most of her life in a wheelchair. During the early years of her illness she had to lie on her back and was read to a great deal by her mother. From the age of five onwards she was enjoying the works of such authors as Dickens, Thacheray and Trollope, together with Dewulf in Greek and Roman legends. She did not learn to read herself until she was nine, when she found that normal children's books were insipid reading. When she was nine the family moved to a house in the Royal Dockyard at Chatham, and she was sent to a little dame school under the kindly 86 year old Miss Amelia Beck.

Apart from her own private and voracious reading, Rosemary Sutcliff made little progress with formal studies and left school at fourteen to attend the Art School in Bideford. Here she specialised in miniature painting and early in the 1940's exhibited her first miniature in the Royal Academy and was elected a member of the Royal Society of Miniature Painters just after the war.

In 1950 her first children's book, The Queen's Story, was published and from then on she devoted her time and talents to writing the children's historical novels. Many of her books are set in Roman Britain, a period which particularly interested her.

Rosemary Sutcliff received an OBE in the 1975 Birthday Honours List and a CBE in 1992. She died in 1992 at the age of 72.

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