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Gates of Fire

2 Ratings: 4.5
A book by Steven Pressfield

Go tell the Spartans, stranger passing by, that here obedient to their laws we lie. Thus reads an ancient stone at Thermopylae in northern Greece, the site of one of the world's greatest battles for freedom. Here, in 480 B.C., on a narrow mountain pass … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Steven Pressfield
Publisher: Doubleday
1 review about Gates of Fire


  • Nov 1, 1998
This book is one of the best historical reads I've stumbled across in a long time. The "voice" is right, never once slipping into anachronistic modernisms and supplying a truly "transparent" medium, easily accessible to moderns, which yet conveys the immediacy of historical time and place. The tale is not plotted in any formal sense but proceeds in flashback, a hackneyed but effective mechanism here as we see the story unfold, both on the level of a life remembered and through the eyes of the Persian court in the midst of their final Greek campaign. The battle scenes are redolent with the misery and gore of real warfare, too, yet reverberate with the mystery of transcendency -- the real stuff of living and, of course, of dying. There is both an earthiness and a metaphysical element to this finely told tale of heroism in the face of overwhelming odds in a place and time which changed the flow of history as we know it. The characters are as real to us as the flesh and blood we see burning and wallowing in death upon the fields of Thermopylae. And we care about them, which, in the end, is what a book like this must be about. This one's nearly as good as Hope Muntz' THE GOLDEN WARRIOR, which yet remains, in my experience, the best of all historical novels to date. But this is a mighty close runner up. Pressfield has my admiration.

author of The King of Vinland's Saga

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