Gates of Fire

Gates of Fire

An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

Book - 1998
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A novel on Thermopylae, the 480 BC battle which went down in history as an example on heroism. For three days a small force of Greeks defended a narrow pass from a huge Persian army. Lots of detail on Spartan training and fighting techniques. By the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 1998
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385492515
0385492510
9780553580532
Branch Call Number: FICTION PRE
Characteristics: 386 p. : maps ; 25 cm
Alternative Title: Staff picks

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This historical fiction epic is about the infamous battle between Sparta and Persia, in which a small army of Spartans and other Greeks temporarily held back a Persian army that greatly outnumbered them. It is a beautiful story that not only provides a perspective into the battle at the Hot Gates... Read More »

This historical fiction epic is about the infamous battle between Sparta and Persia, in which a small army of Spartans and other Greeks temporarily held back a Persian army that greatly outnumbered them. It is a beautiful story that not only provides a perspective into the battle at the Hot Gates... Read More »


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KRockstar10 Aug 14, 2013

Wow! This book was a big departure for me...I don't generally do military fiction, and I have (sadly) forgotten most of my Greek history. However, this book was great! Very very dense and a bit tough to get through at times, especially when you have to make multiple guesses about how to pronounce things, but well-written and extremely detailed. My only major complaint is that the narration frequently jumped around in time and if you weren't paying attention, it got very confusing. Other than that, I really enjoyed this and I'm glad I stretched myself outside of my comfort zone.

JCLGreggW May 24, 2013

So you've seen the movie "300" and have a feeling that the historical record probably didn't play out that way with rippling abs and a heavy CGI budget. Steven Pressfield takes the Battle of Thermopylae, where the representatives of the tiny city-states of Greece defend themselves against the massive army of Persians led by emperor Xerxes who is thirsting for revenge, and uses the battle as a framing device for a wonderfully-written historical novel about the Greek way of life. The story is told from the point of view of Xeones, a Greek refugee who comes to serve as a squire, or battlefield assistant, to the Spartans; Xeones is captured by the Persians in the wake of battle and forced to tell his tale of why and how the of Greeks were able to turn back the Persian tide. Xeones takes us from his own upbringing and how his village was destroyed by war, and how he traveled to Sparta - the enemy of his town's invaders - and joined them. We get to know several of the Greek warriors, from kings and generals to sergeants and raw recruits, culminating with the war with the Persians. Pressfield is a master at the war narrative - his descriptions of the specific battles and the tides of war will suck you in and leave you heartbroken. This works as a historical novel, as it gives you a great look at the daily lives and dramas of historical figures, and also as a war novel, with battles and dramatic action sequences. Once you'll read this, you'll wonder why the filmmakers just didn't use this as the source material instead of a Frank Miller graphic novel.

jaysullivan Dec 24, 2011

An inspiring story of what it must have been to become a Spartan guarding the gates. What a tale and it rings true, although no one really knows the details of what happened in the last days to those few at the gate.

s
scottekarate
Feb 05, 2011

This book is awsesome. Way better than the movie 300. Way more engaging.

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