Gates of Fire

  • by Steven Pressfield
  • Narrated by Derek Jacobi
  • 6 hrs and 19 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Thousands of years ago, Herodotus and Plutarch immortalized Spartan society in their histories. But today, little is left of the ancient city or the social structure of this momentous culture. One of the few antiquarian marks of the civilization that has survived lies scores of miles away from Sparta, at a narrow Greek mountain pass called Thermopylae. It was here that 300 of Sparta's finest warriors held back the invading millions of the Persian empire and valiantly gave their lives in the selfless service of democracy and freedom. A simple engraved stone marks their burial ground. Inspired by this stone and intrigued by the lore of Sparta, author Steven Pressfield has brilliantly combined scholarship with storytelling. Narrated by the sole survivor of the epic battle, a squire in the Spartan heavy infantry, Gates of Fire is a mesmerizing depiction of one man's indoctrination into the Spartan way of life and death, and of the legendary men and women who gave the culture an immortal gravity. Culminating in the electrifying and horrifying epic battle, Gates of Fire weaves history, mystery, and heartbreaking romance into a literary tale that brings the Homeric tradition into the 21st century.


What the Critics Say

"Reading this fine novel, it is not hard to understand why warfare has proved to be one of the most enduring subjects of literature." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Derek Jacobi is brilliant: his soldiers are terrifyingly gruff, and his breathless account of the fighting is so vivid that one can almost smell the blood." (Audiofile)
"An incredibly gripping, moving, and literate work of art. Rarely does an author manage to re-create a moment in history with such mastery, authority, and psychological insight." (Nelson DeMille)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent, but very sad it's abridged

Gates of Fire is a superb book. It is historical fiction at it's very best. I believe this is the best of Pressfield's works, so it is nice to finally see this book in audio. The reading is terrific. In fact, I have only one minor quibble, in that the voice adopted for Polynikes sounds like a 40 year old man rather than a 23 year old. Narrator should have used that voice for Dienekes. But truly a quibble. A wonderful book and a superb story of the bond between men and between men and women. I give it 4 stars vs. five merely because it is abridged, and there are some truly wonderful insights about characters (especially Suicide, Arete, and Dienekes) that are in the book that are not in this abridged volume. Still, if you like this era of history and you like stories of courage, valor, and frienship, you cannot do better. This book has some of the best quotes I am aware of for sacrifice and friendship. It is a literary achievement.
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- Quotes&More


Absolutely the best fiction written on the Battle of Thermopylae. Beautifully performed narration by Derek Jacobi.

I requested this audiobook a year ago, and finally, with the release of 300, we got it.

300, while a fun popcorn movie, and equally fun graphic novel, does not compare to the thrilling, well researched and most historically accurate account of what occured at the Hot Gates.

If you want politics, intrigue, romance and action, mesmerizingly narrated, you will find it here.
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- Barbara

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-22-2007
  • Publisher: Random House Audio