The Lantern Bearers

by Rosemary Sutcliff
260 pages, Historical Fiction
Reviewed by Jenny

A unique and stirring close to the era of Roman-Britain; an excellent preamble to the Arthurian age.


The Eagles are leaving Britain, flying to the aid of Rome, never to return again. Torn between his loyalties to the army and his loyalties to the land of Britain, young Aquila must make a choice which faith to keep and which faith to break, to leave with the last Auxiliaries and go to the defense of a Rome he has never seen, or stay in Britain and try to stop the onslaught of the Saxons.


The main character is wracked by the desire for vengeance against those who betrayed his family, but otherwise a strong sense of morality is held.

Spiritual Content

There is a mention of Norse gods and a belief in fate, but by and large a faith is held in the Christian God.


There are many battles of varying degrees throughout the story, none of them being very graphic.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Wine and mead are drunk, and there are some mild instances of drunkenness.

Sexual Content


Crude or Profane Language or Content



This is a heart-rending, beautiful continuation of the stories Sutcliff begins in The Eagle of the Ninth. As before, Sutcliff manages to bring life and depth to an age long since gone through the eyes of young Aquila and the Companions of Britain.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 13+

Review Rating:

Average rating: 4 stars
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