The Persian army, two million men strong, is marching onto Greece. The Greeks have deployed a small army, 4,000 — 7,000 men against the Persians and chose to make their stand at the geographically advantageous Thermopylae. Leading the Greeks are 300 Spartans who hope to delay the army enough for Greece to get together a defense plan.
They know that is a suicide mission.
Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae by Steven Pressfield is an epic book, the style is sharp, the story vivid, the history pretty accurate, and the moral dilemmas are still relevant in today's military units.
I loved to read about the problems facing the Spartan King and his army commanders, the soldiers and their servants. The books is a fictional account of those who are about to die, know it, and still go forward contemplating life's big mysteries and gaining appreciation for their comrades, and those they left behind.
I truly enjoyed the fact that the author pays attention to history and imagines what it would have been like for his protagonists to prepare for battle and death. Mr. Pressfield understands the notions of honor in the context of ancient Greece and writes about it in a moving, serious way.
The book does not glorify battles, in fact there is much misery, stench and carnage on the battlefield. If anything, glory in battle is rewarded after the fact, not during.
The close brotherhood of the Spartan soldiers is something the author focuses on throughout the novel. If you are, or were in a close knit combat unit, this book will bring back memories. If you were not, but ever wandered what makes the men click, this one is for you
- 442 pages
- Publisher: Bantam
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 055358053