They looked back when they have gone a few paces, and saw him standing as they had left him, already dimmed with mist, and outlined against the drifting mist beyond. A half-naked, wild-haired tribesman, with a savage dog against his knee; but the wide, well-drilled movement of his arm as he raised it in greeting and farewell was all Rome. It was the parade-ground and the clipped voice of trumpets, the iron discipline and the pride. In that instant Marcus seemed to see, not the barbarian hunter, but the young centurion, proud in his first command, before ever the shadow of the doomed legion fell on him. It was to that centurion that he saluted in reply
Rosemary Sutcliff – The Eagle of the Ninth
I will write just a very quick note about my reading of “The Eagle of the Ninth”: it is a very good book and I cannot but ask myself why the movie based on it had so little to do with the original story. In the book, as Servetus commented in my post regarding the film, all those things that look absurd and difficult to understand in the movie are clear, starting with the relationship between Marcus and Esca. Their relationship has been absurdely twisted for the sake of I have not understood very well what. The story makes much more sense as written by Rosemary Sutcliff, who was a superb writer. One more consideration: in 1954 this was considered “children’s literature”.