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Publisher's Summary

When a Roman ship is wrecked on the coast of Britain, Beric, the infant son of a Roman soldier, is the only survivor. Beric grows up with a Briton tribe, but to his foster people he remained an alien, one of the Red Crests. So when bad times come, the tribe holds him responsible and casts him out.

Rejected by the only life he knew, the boy turns to his own people, but Rome too rejects him. Lost, bewildered, a captive in his father's land, he escaped from slavery only to be captured again and condemned to labor on the rowing benches of a galley of the Rhenus Fleet. Will Beric ever find ultimate happiness?

Rosemary Sutcliff provides a fine and exciting story with a background of Roman Britain that rings true from the first page to the last.

©1955 Rosemary Sutcliff (P)2001 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Outcast comes to life under Johanna Ward's smooth reading..." ( Reviewer's Bookwatch)

What listeners say about Outcast

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  • Overall
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An excellent story

Rosemary Sutcliff is an excellent writer, and this book of hers is once again supported by one of the premier audio book narrators in Johanna Ward - a great combination making an excellent book. Not sure why Audible considers this part of Audible Kids - its great literature for all ages. The story lines are complex and rich, and the historical detail that is always part of her stories makes it not only interesting but also a learning opportunity. She was obviously fascinated with the period of time when the Roman empire was in decline and the Germanic people were beginning to assert themselves on the culture of the island. I highly recommend this book and also her classic the lantern bearers.

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not a kids book filled with hope

one of the most depressing things I have read or listen to in a long time.

1 person found this helpful

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A captivating piece of historical fiction for older children and adults of all ages

I recently listened to this for the first time and really enjoyed it. I was a bit unsure at the very beginning but quickly learned how compelling the story actually is and the world Sutcliff depicts. Beric is such a relatable character and his story of growth is well worth digging into as he faces many trials and each time decides that life is worth living. I love his fight, his struggle, and the end of the story feels satisfying. It really feels like a real story you’d hear someone tell you about their life during the time. I’m 30 but frequently enjoy “children’s literature” like this story and other novels because of the fresh and genuine perspective they carry. I’d say this would be a good read for somewhat older children who can handle knowing some of the hardships people in slavery (and in general, the ancient world) went/go through with proper context and supervision to process the story accurately.

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A great story of Roman Britain

Rosemary Sutcliff is one of my favorite authors. I wish Audible would make more of her work available. She was an author of some genius and wrote dozens of novels for young adults and adults. Audible only has 8 in its library. This is a wonderful story depicting life in a British tribal village at the time of the Roman occupation and then also life in Rome. I thought the portrayals were not sugar coated for a younger reader but were very realistic, so important in historical fiction. The story creates characters which are fully realized and places which are vividly described and easy to imagine. A wonderful book.

1 person found this helpful

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When Romans ruled Brits

Fine narration. The story moves quickly but at times it felt slow during times of pain and hunger. The slavery scenes were hard to take but the happier ending almost made up for it. The main character, Beric, is quite likable. He’s an impressionable and gullible 15 year-old when the main action starts and after four years of betrayal, unjust treatment, and brutal suffering, he’s much wiser, more cautious — but he hasn’t lost his capacity to love and trust. I liked Jason and Justinius, too. The author writes with deep characterization and historical credibility. No frills, no feisty romances, no miraculous acts of god, except maybe that “He was not born to be drowned.”

Sutcliff certainly knew her stuff. History and storytelling.

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Loved by kids AND mom.

My 10 and 11 year old son and daughter listened to this in the car over the course of several weeks. They are learning about Britain in the Middle Ages, so I thought this could help bring the time period to life. Like most, my kids are captivated by fast-moving flashy movies and video games so I wasn't sure if they would connect with the older more sophisticated language and the comparatively slower pace of an audio book. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised. Every time we got in the car, I would hear, "Can we see what's happening with Beric?!?" We finished it today, and they are eager to see what our next audio adventure might be...

1 person found this helpful

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Great historical fiction

I was introduced to Rosemary Sutcliff's novels in a college class about children's literature, but after listening to all of her books offered by Audible and reading a few in print I realized her writing is more suitable for older teens, young adults and adults. She takes what little is known for sure about Ancient Britain and weaves it into a realistic story line, creating characters that tell us who they are through their actions without wasting words or using unnecessary explanatory narrative. What she doesn't do is add unbelievable chance encounters, romances, complicated plot twists, or head-case characters to keep readers going, so if you like that sort of historical fiction it may feel a little slow. Her style is very lyrical and Johanna Ward has the perfect voice for narrating her books. This story is interesting because it deals with cultures in both Ancient Britain and Ancient Rome, exploring the ugliness of slavery and the resiliency of the human spirit.

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  • 05-05-22

Yet another wonderful Sutcliff,

and one I did not know existed. The story was engaging, kept me on my toes, and while hopeful, tugged at my heart strings and made me wonder along with Barrick. Definitely one of her best.

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Good Storytelling

Enjoyed this and all of the other Sutcliff books I could find. Good retelling of history.

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Good youth adventure

Smooth story of ancient Roman Britain good style accurate background age 12 and youth or adults