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Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae | [Steven Pressfield]

Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae

Gates of Fire puts you at the side of valiant Spartan warriors in 480 BC for the bloody, climactic battle at Thermopylae. There, a few hundred of Sparta’s finest sacrificed their lives to hold back the invading Persian millions. The time they bought enabled the Greeks to rally - saving, according to ancient historian Herodotus, “Western democracy and freedom from perishing in the cradle.” How did the Spartans accomplish this superhuman feat? This is what the King of Persia hopes to learn from the sole Spartan survivor.
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Publisher's Summary

Gates of Fire puts you at the side of valiant Spartan warriors in 480 BC for the bloody, climactic battle at Thermopylae. There, a few hundred of Sparta’s finest sacrificed their lives to hold back the invading Persian millions. The time they bought enabled the Greeks to rally - saving, according to ancient historian Herodotus, “Western democracy and freedom from perishing in the cradle.” How did the Spartans accomplish this superhuman feat? This is what the King of Persia hopes to learn from the sole Spartan survivor. The squire’s story indeed reveals the incredible rigors of Spartan training - and more importantly, how the whole culture fostered the mindset of fearlessness.

Steven Pressfield has skillfully combined scholarship and storytelling to bring the whole world of ancient Sparta brilliantly to life. George Guidall’s dramatic delivery enhances the richness and feeling of this inspired recreation.

©1998 Steven Pressfield (P)1999 Recorded Books, LLC

What Members Say

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4.4 (351 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tracy Raeford, NC, United States 10-12-14
    Tracy Raeford, NC, United States 10-12-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Hands down! one of the best books I've ever read!"

    Not only is the book itself great, but listening allowed me to flow through the story easier because I know I would have had a hard time with the pronunciation of the names.

    This is a book I will definitely read several more times in the future!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Whipple 09-07-14
    S. Whipple 09-07-14
    ratings
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    10
    3
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    Story
    "A Fantastic Journey"
    What made the experience of listening to Gates of Fire the most enjoyable?

    Knowing it was historically accurate (or as much so as possible)


    What did you like best about this story?

    It's history


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Hard to say


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Loved how the author portrayed these Man-Tanks as being human, having sorry, fear, and horror.


    Any additional comments?

    It's a bit harsh in some points -- graphic, language, brutal. There are moments that it's certainly not a pleasant read (a distanced rape scene, etc). But definitely worth a read!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 02-06-14
    Mark Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 02-06-14 Member Since 2008

    I enjoy, epic and modern fantasy, science fiction, business, historical mystery, and technology books. Fav. series: Game of Thrones, Vampire Earth, Dresden, Iron Druid, Falco mysteries, Chris Anderson titles, Peaceful Warrior, and the Way of Kings (and more, of course;)

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    "Better than '300'!"

    A detailed telling of the story of the hot gates battles, with realistic characters and great accounts of the battles. A great story if you like action, history, or both.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lonnie Ducote Palm Springs, Ca 01-02-14
    Lonnie Ducote Palm Springs, Ca 01-02-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Rich Historical Text Is Great Listen"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gates of Fire?

    Many memorable one liners and scenarios... Many which are seem insane, but are in fact historically verifiable.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    It was and I did, although the movie "300" had quite a bit more artistic license. One of my favorite movies however.


    Any additional comments?

    Perhaps a tad long at time, the book does a great job at fleshing out just why Sparta was the military power house it has a history of being, and does service to the brave 300 who went to certain death and saved an empire in the process.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Kansas City, MO, United States 03-26-13
    Amazon Customer Kansas City, MO, United States 03-26-13
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    "Brilliant."
    Would you listen to Gates of Fire again? Why?

    I will absolutely listen to this book again. The story is rich, and colorful with many details about dozens and dozens of characters to fill out the world of the Greeks and Persians.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Despite knowing how the story ends prior to starting, I was surprised at how moved I was during several parts of the book. Emotionally moved in a way that I don't recall ever happening with another book.


    What does George Guidall bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Being a book about ancient Greece, written in an "old style" where each Province and every character is named often, it might get tedious to read and pronounce the Greek, even if just in one's own head. Guidall's pronunciations are faithful and consistent, and really helped to make the text (which is quite long) very accessible.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes. It is told from a historian/narrator point of view, as a story; and it feels that way. I felt like an officer sitting in the Persian tent listening to Xeones tell the story. I wanted to hear it all, told straight through. But at over 14 hours... it wasn't possible.


    Any additional comments?

    Simply one of the best books I have ever read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffery T. Harris 01-02-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Historical Fiction Recounting Great Warriors"
    Have you listened to any of George Guidall’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have not listened to George Guidall before but I did enjoy his performance of Gates of Fire. He did not go over-the-top as I was anticipating which was nice. The only thing I had to adjust to was his pronunciation of a few of the names, like Leonidas and some of the geographical locations. I had always heard them pronounced differently so I had to pay extra attention when names and locations were mentioned so I knew exactly what he was talking about.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Having served in the military, the camaraderie between the warriors reminded me of my service and the men and women I served with. It is accurate and telling of the bond shared by those who go through war and the relationships they build.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samara United States 12-06-12
    Samara United States 12-06-12 Member Since 2012
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    "A must read for history lovers"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, because I really enjoyed it.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Gates of Fire?

    The battle, not because of the gore, but because of the bravery. It was very well written.


    Any additional comments?

    This story will make you laugh and cry. Loved it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen United States 10-13-12
    Stephen United States 10-13-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Thermopylae Comes to Life"
    What did you love best about Gates of Fire?

    The history books speak of the Battle of Thermopylae but do it in a dry and boring way. So much of the historical importance of this battle is skimmed over and the individual people involved are ignored.

    Though this book is historical fiction, Pressfield brings the characters to life and adds depth and humanity to them. That depth, the strengths, and the weaknesses of the men and women involved makes the book a must read.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I didn't have a favorite character. So many of the characters in this book are fascinating. The apparent cruelty of Dionekes is revealed to be a critical part of the development of one of the Spartan warriors.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The ending. A truly interesting and fascinating ending to a well-known story. Make sure you listen to the whole book and don't jump to the last 30 minutes.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Definitely. Stayed up too late to keep listening. The book is well written and George Guidall is one of the all-time great narrators. His narration would make reading the phone book fascinating.


    Any additional comments?

    For those worried about the book focusing on the blood and gore of battle, that does not happen. The vast majority of the book focuses on the conversion of boys to warriors and the interaction among men. The plot emphasizes that conversion and makes for a wonderful read.

    Make no mistake, this is a guy's type of book. The emphasis is on the men, their thoughts and dreams, as well as the relationships among them.

    The battle scenes are secondary.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd Chicago, IL, United States 09-04-12
    Todd Chicago, IL, United States 09-04-12
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    "It was a fun read, but it has a lot of patriotism."
    What made the experience of listening to Gates of Fire the most enjoyable?

    It's always fun to delve into the daily lives of the ancients. This book really takes you there. He's a very good descriptive writer.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    You can't spoil this ending. It's been well known for 2500 years.


    Which character – as performed by George Guidall – was your favorite?

    not sure


    If you could rename Gates of Fire, what would you call it?

    Violence and intrigue.


    Any additional comments?

    It's not literature, and I'm not sure female readers would get much out of it. It was a fun novel without many surprises. Like much non-literature fiction, the good guys are really good. So much so that the characters don't feel like real people.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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