The Silver Branch

by Rosemary Sutcliff
228 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Jenny

An excellent retelling of Romano-Britain, admirably executed.


When Justin, an army Surgeon, and his soldier cousin, Flavius, discover a plot against their British emperor Carausius, they are forced to go into hiding. There they spend their time dodging the Saxon agents of the traitor while creating secret communications with the Roman Caesar Constantius on the Continent. All the while they build up a rogue Legion of their own, making for their standard a mysterious, wingless Eagle whose history lies in shadow, a glory of past days to lead them on to future triumph.


Throughout the story there is a strong underlying sense of right and wrong.

Spiritual Content

There is a mention and veneration of Roman and Celtic gods, and also the suggestion of a soldier holding to the Christian belief.


There are battles, a catapult falls on a man, and a man cuts his own finger as an excuse to see Justin, but nothing is described in graphic detail.

Drug and Alcohol Content

There is a drinking of wine and mead, and only one instance of drunkenness in a briefly mentioned character; the Saxons do get drunk. Nightshade is employed as a poison.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content

Occasional mild Latin oaths.


This is an excellent sequel to The Eagle of the Ninth. The way Sutcliff ties this story into the previous one is ingenious and captivating. The characters of this story come to life in her writing and one is caught up in their struggle to keep the lights of civilized Britain from going out.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4.5
Written for Age: 13+

Review Rating:

Average rating: 5 stars
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