The AHS faculty talk about books.

"Gates of Fire" by Steven Pressfield

Review written by: Tata Francisco

Book Watch, Vol. 1, Issue 5

This stirring and grand novel, told in Pressfield’s trademark masterful prose, tells the story of the ancient Spartans leading up to the famous battle of Thermopylae. Xeones, a Greek squire of the Spartans, somehow survives the battle at the Hot Gates, and is captured by the Persians. Yet the enemy burns to know more of the three hundred fearsome, valiant Spartans who slew more than twenty thousand of their finest warriors. And so, King Xerxes commands Xeones to tell him more about the Spartans: who were they? How did they get to be so fierce in battle? What were they like as men? What kind of wives and mothers did they have? Thus Xeones begins his tale.

Told through the dying Xeones, Gates of Fire delves deep into the society and psyche of the ancient Spartans. By turns brutal and lyrical, yet always brilliantly compelling, this novel brings the ancient Spartans to life. No stylized, semi-fantastical and glorious 300 this, but a darker, grimmer, more realistic and, ultimately, more compelling tale. Gates of Fire is more than just a war novel; it is a paean to the true nature of courage, the bond that comrades-in-arms, husbands, sons and fathers share, and the Spartans’ warrior ethic that so inspired the ancient world and still continues to dazzle our modern one.


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