This book is an excellent description of the Battle of Thermopylae written by the fictitious only survivor of the battle. As a historian I found the novel extremely well written and a great counter point to the cartoonish movie "300 Spartans" of a few years ago. The blood and gore are still there, but the warriors are made human by an gifted author in Pressfield. We're always told that history needs to come alive to be appreciated. This book does it better then anything I've ever read.
Rick M. (historyman) reviewed Gates of Fire : An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae on
Helpful Score: 2
This is NOT 300! No disrespect to that terrific graphic novel. This is a work of historical fiction that rings with authenticity. Pressfield, as he does in all of his books, lets the characters speak for themselves seamlessly blending the real historical words of the characters themselves (where possible) with the contemporaneous philosophical details that lets you see the world through their eyes. He does this while creating a novel of compelling action. The story is told in the voice of a mortally wounded Spartan helot the fictional last survivor of the battle of Thermopylae to the Persian king Xerxes. This is a great book for those who find great words and ideas as compelling as great history.
A little slow in the beginning, bear with it, it soon becomes gripping. The battle scenes are gory, but there is much philosophy about what made the Spartans tick! Flash backs give glimpses into the background before the battle and depicts everyday life of key characters. Very good. Movie rights to this were sold before "300" was published and turned into a movie.
This is an amazing story. The Battle of Thermopylae is recounted by the main character of Xeones, a man who was not a Spartan but joined their ranks and learned their ways. This gives us a great perspective as we see the Spartans from the inside with an outsider's perspective. The bulk of the novel consists of painting a picture of just who the Spartans were before the battle at the hot gates and does a wonderful job developing intense and deep characters. Pressfield does a great job here.
Even though most of this story is focused on technical battle scenes, it remains fresh and compelling through to the end. I found myself desperately craving a happy ending even though history says otherwise. Those who are not crazy about "war" stories will still appreciate the incredible story telling in this novel.
An amazing tale. Really takes you back to the days of this battle to understand the Spartans and the world they lived in. Characters that come to life. Hard to put down. Gory and realistic war scenes that are hard to read yet not gratuitively violent. Highly recommended.
Amazing! Pressfield brings the famous battle to life through the narrative of a Spartan squire who served one of the 300. The story is magnificent and he tells it in a superb manner. I could not put it down and highly recommend this to anyone who is a history or military buff.
I can't say enough good things about this book. Easily one of the best historical fictions I've ever read. The author is able to take you into a position to feel & see the struggles of a time & battle that took place thousands of years ago (allegedly)! Very powerful book. Not an easy read, so be prepared to stick with it. But you will be glad you did.
I had to read this book for my sophomore history class and enjoyed it but not as much as some of my classmates who thought it was one of the best books we have read. Good for people who enjoy war stories and ancient Greece.
The Greek stand at Thermopylae as told thru a survivor to Xerxes the Persian King. The survivor tells of the mettle of the men, tactics, battle plans and home life as requested by the King whose army just suffered terrible casualties at the Gates of Fire.