Helena Schrader's Historical Fiction

My biographical novel of Balian d'Ibelin in three parts is complete, but the saga continues. Follow me to Cyprus, where Lusignans and Ibelins struggle to put down a rebellion and establish a durable state. Watch for excerpts and updates here.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

First Review of Leonidas of Sparta: A Boy of the Agoge

First, I'd like to thank all of you who took part in my pole on titles.  Your cumulative responses have been very helpful.  I hope my future titles will be better, reflecting your collective wisdom. 

Despite your poor rating for  "Leonidas of Sparta: A Boy of the Agoge" as a title, the first review of this first part of the Leonidas Trilogy is quite good. I attach it below and hope it will encourage you to read the book and judge for yourself.

New and provocative look at Sparta, October 9, 2010

By Brenda Miller (North Carolina)
(REAL NAME)

Leonidas of Sparta: A Boy of the Agoge (Paperback)

Helena Schrader has in this book fulfilled her introductory promise to look at Spartan life from a completely different position. She clearly has done her research on a relatively little-known but frequently maligned aspect of ancient Sparta; its education system, or "agoge". Instead of the to-be-expected detailed examination of brutality and pedophilia, Ms Schrader describes, through the character of young King Leonidas, what to my mind is a far more likely youth training system. Certainly it was tough and certainly the objective of producing hard and disciplined soldiers for Sparta was never lost sight of (think of a life-long Marine boot camp). But we know that Spartans were in reality far from being a mob of unthinking automatons capable of functioning only under orders and in fear of draconian punishment. There was music, poetry, art, and actual thought in archaic and classic Sparta and Ms Schrader brings all this out beautifully. Desite the difference of some 2500 years, as a former career Army officer I could readily relate to Leonidas' struggles and to the overall training effort as well. Ms Shrader has succeeded with this book and I hope that we will have the opportunity soon to read her works on the rest of Leonidas' life.

I should also add that this work is perfectly suitable for older teen-age readers as well as for adults.

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