Monday, December 25, 2006

Book Review - Thermopylae - Gates of Fire

I recently watched the trailer of a movie. "300". Was as impressed as any one of those average middle class suburbanite slobs that I am... I went ahead and bought the book about "Thermopylae"... "Gates of Fire" by Stephen Pressfield. The book was well written and impressive enough to keep my attention for more than 4 hours. Commendable.. I usually get bored after 30 minutes of reading a book, but I finished this book.

The book is about a group of 300 elite 'Spartans'. (history and the book says these 300 were joined by more than 700 from other tribes), defending Greece from a humungous Persian army. The persian army lands at the marshes of Mallaca Gulf, and has to proceeds south. That is the only road, as there are no wide paths through the mountains. On the other side of the mountains is Greece and inbetween there are 1000 Greeks. (300 of which are Spartans, that this book tries to glorify).

Xerxes lands at point A, with maybe a million soldiers, and has to pass through road B. The Greeks who do not fear their lives are at points C, D, and E with their contingents and keep pushing the Persian invaders off the cliffs which are marked in bright pink. Well cliffs are pretty dangerous places to get pushed off and persians die like lemmings on a suicide spree. (Well that BTW is a myth.. not to be taken seriously).

So there is this greek king called Leonidas. 60 years of age, but an great leader, who first builds a wall (red bar) in front of a battle plain on a cliff, which can hold around 4000 persians at a time. He convinces the 1000 Greeks by his side, that even if each Greek kills 4 Persians, the battle can be won on a day by day basis.... Flawless logic and the Greeks implement it. once, twice, thrice... again and again and again till the Persians get really irritated. Those are the high points of the book.

The rest of the book is about how the Persian outwit them.... pretty intersting and there is a thrilling raid by a group of 10 spartans to kill Xerxues.. howver they pronounce it... but to no avail. He lives and kills every one of the spartans the very next day.

The book is being narrated by a Spartan slave, and he holds your interest in a story, whose result you arready know. Read the book. Pretty interesting. Also watch the series of "making of 300". If you enjoyed Sin City, and you enjoy war movies... i guess this will be one more treat from Frank Miller.

6 comments:

cognitive displaysia said...

how are you doing?

who am i? (without looking at my gmail id)
nepotism
ratha kuzhambhu
ok this is a giveaway..ophthalmology

Escape.... Great Escape said...

hmmm.. would you know all these because you are clairvoyant ?

cognitive displaysia said...

or so i thought..till i dreamt i was terribly dumb..the inference I drew about my clairvoyant ability was doubly helpful i guess...

epdi is chennai? do you gchat any?

Escape.... Great Escape said...

Mainly on yahoo... we must get synched up.. I have a few predictions to make too... I might be losing out on my clairvoyant abilities...

cognitive displaysia said...

yahoo id?

Escape.... Great Escape said...

Same as gmail... and hotmail...