Author: T.S. Chaudhry
Publisher: Top Hat Books
Type of book: Sparta, Greece, Persia, viking, 480 PME-477 PME, wars, Rome, Valkyrie, Saka, Indus River, kings, the 300, Sparta vs Athens, Argos, battles between city states, alliances, politics, Oracle of Apollo, 327 PME
Year it was published: 2014
Xerxes, the Great King of Persia invades Greece in 480 B.C. at the head of over a million barbarians. 300 Spartan’s led by King Leonidas die heroically blocking the Persian advance at the pass of Thermopylae. The Persians are poised to conquer all of Greece.
The only one standing in their way is a woman – Gorgo, Queen of Sparta. Though history has relegated her role to an interested bystander, what if she played a central part at the heart of the Greek resistance to the Persian invasion. What if she kept her true role a secret in order to play it more effectively? What if she was hiding other secrets too – dark secrets of murder and vengeance? What if the only person who truly appreciated her genius was an enemy prisoner? What if after their victory, the Greeks start to turn on each other? What if, eventually, Gorgo has to choose between the security of Sparta and safety of her son? And what if the only one who could find a way out is the same prisoner whom she has vowed to kill?
The character of Gorgo is definitely strong and amazing. She is not a damsel in distress, and she enjoys having and using power for good of Greece. She is powerful, intelligent, open minded, savvy, and might possibly be reminiscent of Elizabeth I of England, at least the way she is in the book. She is also not in a hurry to get married and seems to enjoy single-hood. Sherzada is a fictional prince from Indus Valley, a dark skinned man of Saka origins who seems to match Queen Gorgo's intelligence and who is also a world traveler and wise. I have to say its fun watching these two match wits with one another. There are other characters too, but I feel that they aren't well drawn as Queen Gorgo and Sherzada, but yes, the women are strong and play in battle roles.
Women play a greater role than was previously thought of.
The story is written in third person narrative from Gorgo's and Sherzada's points of view. I cannot recall if other characters added in their two cents or not. The story is political, military, and a mix of different cultures, which I've highly enjoyed, so yes, a little something for everyone, although the romantic aspects of the book need to be worked on a little more. Some of the stories and plot lines are unfinished, but yes I would like a sequel about these two and it definitely whetted my appetite for Sherzada's homeland.
(From Pump Up Your Book)
T. S. Chaudhry was born in Karachi, Pakistan. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Formerly a Pakistani diplomat, Chaudhry currently works for the United Nations on peace and security issues in Africa.THE QUEEN OF SPARTA is Chaudhry’s first novel. He came up with the idea to write a story about Queen Gorgo being the architect of the Greek resistance against the Persian invasion while reading Herodotus for his A-Level examination in England several decades ago. “As a lover of history, or a ‘history-buff,’ I have always enjoyed reading both fiction and nonfiction about this period.”Chaudhry is currently working on a “prequel” to THE QUEEN OF SPARTA based on events leading up to the Battle of Marathon, called Fennel Field.
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According to goodreads site, I'm definitely in minority for liking the book, but I couldn't help but like it. Yes, it does need a little work, but for me, the story and the writing really have high potential. I barely know anything about Greece, aside from, well, Athens vs Sparta competitions. I also barely know anything about the ancient world of that day, how it lived and functioned. Many times whenever I try to read historical fiction books, I tend to get lost a lot in the politics of that era (irony because I'm a history major...) I only have skeletal ideas of the Peloponnese Wars and of 300 of Sparta and the battles. Yet I highly enjoyed the story and was able to keep up with what's going on and I also loved how different cultures came into play, such as the viking culture, the Persian culture, the Indus River culture and even Roman culture! What I also appreciated is that although fictional, the protagonist of Sherzada is from South Asia rather than Europe. I do feel that the romance between Queen Gorgo and her paramour could be worked on a little more, but at least excellent backgrounds and convictions on how these two belong together. Still there are some unfinished threads which I wish would be worked out in the possible future books.
This is for Pump Up Your Book
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)