Gates of Fire puts you at the side of valiant Spartan warriors in 480 BC for the bloody, climactic battle at Thermopylae. There, a few hundred of Sparta’s finest sacrificed their lives to hold back the invading Persian millions. The time they bought enabled the Greeks to rally—saving, according to ancient historian Herodotus, “Western democracy and freedom from perishing in the cradle.” How did the Spartans accomplish this superhuman feat? This is what the King of Persia hopes to learn from the sole Spartan survivor. The squire’s story indeed reveals the incredible rigors of Spartan training—and more importantly, how the whole culture fostered the mindset of fearlessness. Steven Pressfield has skillfully combined scholarship and storytelling to bring the whole world of ancient Sparta brilliantly to life. George Guidall’s dramatic delivery enhances the richness and feeling of this inspired recreation.