Steven Pressfield Gates Of Fire

ISBN 13: 9780553812169

Gates Of Fire

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9780553812169: Gates Of Fire
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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.

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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 above the crystalline Aegean, 300 Spartan knights and their allies faced the massive forces of Xerxes, King of Persia. From the start, there was no question but that the Spartans would perish. In Gates of Fire, however, Steven Pressfield makes their courageous defense--and eventual extinction--unbearably suspenseful.

In the tradition of Mary Renault, this historical novel unfolds in flashback. Xeo, the sole Spartan survivor of Thermopylae, has been captured by the Persians, and Xerxes himself presses his young captive to reveal how his tiny cohort kept more than 100,000 Persians at bay for a week. Xeo, however, begins at the beginning, when his childhood home in northern Greece was overrun and he escaped to Sparta. There he is drafted into the elite Spartan guard and rigorously schooled in the art of war--an education brutal enough to destroy half the students, but (oddly enough) not without humor: "The more miserable the conditions, the more convulsing the jokes became, or at least that's how it seems," Xeo recalls. His companions in arms are Alexandros, a gentle boy who turns out to be the most courageous of all, and Rooster, an angry, half-Messenian youth.

Pressfield's descriptions of war are breathtaking in their immediacy. They are also meticulously assembled out of physical detail and crisp, uncluttered metaphor:

The forerank of the enemy collapsed immediately as the first shock hit it; the body-length shields seemed to implode rearward, their anchoring spikes rooted slinging from the earth like tent pins in a gale. The forerank archers were literally bowled off their feet, their wall-like shields caving in upon them like fortress redoubts under the assault of the ram.... The valor of the individual Medes was beyond question, but their light hacking blades were harmless as toys; against the massed wall of Spartan armor, they might as well have been defending themselves with reeds or fennel stalks.
Alas, even this human barrier was bound to collapse, as we knew all along it would. "War is work, not mystery," Xeo laments. But Pressfield's epic seems to make the opposite argument: courage on this scale is not merely inspiring but ultimately mysterious. --Marianne Painter

From the Publisher:

"In Gates of Fire, Steven Pressfield brings the battle of Thermopylae to brilliant life, and he does for that war what Charles Frazier did for the Civil War in Cold Mountain. When you finish Pressfield's work, you will feel you have fought side by side with the Spartans. This novel is Homeric."
--Pat Conroy

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Book Description Transworld Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAZ9780553812169

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Book Description Transworld Publishers Ltd, United Kingdom, 2000. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAZ9780553812169

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Book Description Bantam. Condition: New. An epic heroic novel, set in Ancient Greece, and based on the true story of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. This is the story of Xeones, the only survivor of 300 Spartan warriors ordered to delay for as long as possible the million-strong invading army of King Xerxes of Persia. Num Pages: 528 pages, maps. BIC Classification: FA; FJH. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 176 x 107 x 34. Weight in Grams: 274. . 1999. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Seller Inventory # V9780553812169

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Book Description Bantam, 1999. Condition: New. An epic heroic novel, set in Ancient Greece, and based on the true story of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. This is the story of Xeones, the only survivor of 300 Spartan warriors ordered to delay for as long as possible the million-strong invading army of King Xerxes of Persia. Num Pages: 528 pages, maps. BIC Classification: FA; FJH. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 176 x 107 x 34. Weight in Grams: 274. . 1999. Paperback. . . . . . Seller Inventory # V9780553812169

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