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on 7 December 2014
The best of Manfredi's novels to date. Well written, with main characters that take you with them on their journey through an epic era in the history of the Greek people. A grippingly great read.
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on 15 June 2017
Good, but not Manfredi's best.
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on 23 July 2002
I have literally just finished this book and I am sorry to have done so ... the pleasure that this book brought me is so great that I could easily pick it up again from the beginning.
Altough I suspect that the Italian original must be better than the English translation, as is usually the case, I found no fault in either the language or the story. It is like a breath of fresh air.
I found the way that the story is told so close to how real life is, that the unavoidable historical dicrepancies fade into insignificance. And after all who is there to know exactly how close this story is to the reality of the Ancient world? The pictures it paints are clearly believable and the life messages conveyed are valuable lessons about honesty, loyality, true love and fairness. Thus I highly recommend it to young people.
Its interesting story and the narrative flow keep your interest keen at all times and makes learning about life and customs in Ancient Greece a pleasure!
I look forward to reading the Alexander trilogy and any other book by Valerio Massimo Manfredi.
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on 9 July 2004
I must say that I found this book hard to put down. I read 'The Last Legion' (same author) prior to reading 'Spartan' and was suprised by the difference in the two styles the author had used, Spartan was the better book and kept rolling along in such a way it was painful to put it down.
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on 17 March 2003
I have just finished this book, I would have to say if you have read 'gates of fire' and other Pressfield stuff or any ancient authors you will probably be disappointed. The book must have lost a lot in the translation. There seems to have been many Spartan based books released in the last few months, this period is having a bit of a renaissance. I found the historical accuracy a bit lacking, as the previous reviewer noted 'who was there?' well a lot of historians were there, or able to write about the times - from Homer, Xenophon, Herodotus, Thucydides etc...
I felt the narrative was missing something from the first few pages, I read the dust jacket and realised that the book is a translation, I think this is where it falls down. The detail is too sketchy, Marathon a three page wonder, Salamis is just mentioned, Thermopylae gets fouteen pages, the Persian adventure slightly more.
This book portrays the Spartans as gungh, screaming spear shakers, cries of ALALA! and impulsive charges are just not SPARTAN in my eyes. The dense Spartan phalanx would just fall apart under a charge, the ranks fanning out and the order breaking down.
All in all something lacking.
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on 16 December 2009
I am currently going through all of Manfredi's catalogue because I am really enjoying reading his work. This is no exception. If you like Cornwell, you will like Manfredi.
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on 28 September 2003
It has been a long time coming, but finally I have found a book I really enjoyed. From reading the first page right up until the end I was fascinated by the period in time that this book was set. The story is one to keep you hooked, needing to know what happens to the characters next! Velerio has done well with this one, and now I go forth to read his Alexander trilogy.
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on 10 February 2006
A fantastic read. I read Manfredi's tyrant before this and enjoyed that book but this one outstripped it totally. A fantastic portrayal of the Spartan customs and life, with a gripping plot that half way through I thought it was good enough to be a book in it's self and left in tears, the second half equally as good. WELL WORTH THE READ
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VINE VOICEon 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.
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on 19 February 2003
Not a-par with the Alexander trilogy. Historical facts and fiction are much more "convoluted" here. But unlike the Alexander series, the extra fiction doesn't add to the readabillity of the book... A lot of "weaknesses" in the main character, probably due to its fictitius origins. This is also transfered in the central story where the author tries to "marry" Spartan and Helots lifes. The book is misleadingly called "Spartan". "Helot" would have been a more appropriate name.
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