The Gates of Athens

Pegasus. Jan. 2021. 464p. ISBN 9781643136660. $26.95. F
Prolific author Iggulden (“Emperor” & “Conqueror” series; coauthor, The Double Dangerous Book for Boys) pens a saga about two pivotal battles in the ancient Greek world, the Battle of Marathon and the Last Stand at Thermopylae. Readers witness these impressive events in early history, as experienced by Athenian warrior Xanthippus. A seasoned soldier, he is privy to many military strategic meetings as well as to governmental decision-making debates. The struggle through rigid political philosophies and clashing merciless forces on land and sea will determine the future of the Persian and Greek Empires. Democracy is at stake, and every arena becomes a battlefield. The passion for freedom among the characters is absorbing, given the contrasts between the Persian soldiers and sailors, who are all slaves and forced to fight, and the Grecian free men.
VERDICT Iggulden turns loose an exciting new series that is sure to delight teens and adults alike. This great historical novel dips into ancient life, lighting up all the curious bits that historians love to share. More than just a series of battle scenes, this saga informs readers of the times, the people, and the locations in the best possible way.
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