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Well Written But Not A Classic
on 24 March 2003
This is a well written book from a man evidently knowledgable about the period concerned. It lacks the pace and battle detail of Pressfield's Gates of Fire but covers a longer period of Spartan history.
We follow the life Talos from his birth and subsequent abandonment by his Spartan family to his upbringing as a Helot (slave)and his battle with his competing loyalties of blood and adoptive family.
This covers Thermopylae, famous for its sacrifice of 300 Spartan men, and onto the Helot uprising that followed. More could have been made of the battles fought by the Spartans but Talos' life brushes past this and I think that's where the story is let down.
Everyone knows about the Spartans reputation as "gods of battle" and any story of theirs makes you wish to hear about their exploits. However what we do get here is a better understanding of Spartan society, its strength and terminal weakness.
For those who are not aware of the end of Spartan society we find that their rigid rules and desire for "pure" blood led to their eventual extinction as a people.
This story is interesting but ultimately could have been something far greater.