Hailed as 'breathtakingly brilliant' by the late, great David Gemmell . . .
Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by,
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.
Nearly 2,500 years ago, in 480BC, at a bleak pass in a far-flung corner of eastern Greece, three hundred Spartan warriors faced the army of Xerxes of Persia, a massive force rumoured to be over a million strong.
Their orders were simple: to delay the enemy for as long as possible while the main Greek armies mobilized.
For six days the Spartans held the invaders at bay. In the final hours - their shields broken, swords and spears shattered - they fought with their bare hands before being overwhelmed.
It was battle that would become synonymous with extraordinary courage, heroism and self-sacrifice: it was Thermopylae.
In Gates of Fire, Steven Pressfield tells the epic story of those legendary Spartans: the men and women who helped shaped our history and have themselves become as immortal as their gods.
Pressfield's first novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, was about golf, but here he puts aside his putter and picks up sword and shield as he cleverly and convincingly portrays the clash between Greek hoplites and Persian heavy infantry in the most heroic confrontation of the Hellenic Age: the battle of Thermopylae ("the Hot Gates") in 480 B.C. The terrifying spectacle of classical infantry battle becomes vividly clear in his epic treatment of the Greeks' magnificent last stand against the invading Persians. Driven to understand the courage and sacrifice of his Greek foes, the Persian king, Xerxes, compels Xeones, a captured Greek slave, to explain why the Greeks would give their lives to fight against overwhelming odds. Xeones' tale covers his years of training and adventure as the loyal and devoted servant of Dienekes, a noble Spartan soldier, and he describes the six-day ordeal during which a few hundred Greeks held off thousands of Persian spears and arrows, until a Greek traitor led the Persians to an alternate route. Rich with historical detail, hot action and crafty storytelling, Pressfield's riveting story reveals the social and political framework of Spartan life--ending with the hysteria and brutality of the spear-thrusting, shield-bashing clamor that defined a Spartan's relationship with his family, community, country and fellow warriors. Literary Guild and Military Book Club selections; film rights sold to Universal Studios for George Clooney and Robert Lawrence's Maysville Pictures; UK rights to Bantam, Spanish rights to Grijalbo Mondadori, Italian rights to Rizzoli.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The greatest book ever. I have read over 10 times and it gets better every time one of the most unbelievable tales of bravery and sacrifice in human history told by a master in Steven Pressfield