Steven Pressfield’s The Gates of Fire is set in the fifth century B.C. in Greece. The story revolves about the renowned battle of Thermopylae exactly where 3 hundred Spartans held off hundreds of thousands of Persians, saving Greece. Pressfield creates a fictional story about the battle exactly where a single man, a squire named Xeones, survives to inform the Spartan story of the battle and the events preceding it. Xeones, who is the protagonist, tells his life story to the royal Persian historian whilst in captivity. This life history of Xeones constitutes the body of the book.
Xeones tale starts when he was a young boy living in Astakiots, a small Greek polis. Xeones is ten and lives a happy life with his mother and father, who are prosperous farmers. Xeones closest pals are his cousin Diomache, and a sensible elderly slave Bruxieus. The initially conflict of the book is the sacking of Astakiots by their supposed allies Pleuron and Kalydon. Astakiots is fully destroyed and distributed to the conquerors. Xeones parents are killed and Diomache is raped.
Collectively Diomache, Bruxieus they flee to the mountains. Diomache is pregnant from the rape and she tries to abort the fetus and practically ends up killing herself. Xeones, filled with grief more than the death of his loved ones and the destruction of his nation and faced with a life of living in the mountains devoid of a polis, vows to take revenge against the invaders. This undying vengeance of Xeones will drive him the rest of his life.
1 day stealing chickens from a farm is caught and has a nail driven via his wrist as punishment. This nail cripples his hand. He can no longer grasp a sword. He will no longer be able to kill the murders of his parents. That night he is filled with so a great deal shame he tries to commit suicide. Before he can the god Apollo comes to him and shows him a bow. His crippled hands can nonetheless draw a bowstring.
Following two years in the mountains Bruxieus dies and Diomache and Xeones decided to locate a new polis. Diomache knows a rich lady in Athens and wants to go reside with her till she’s old enough to marry. Xeones, nevertheless filled with vengeance, wants to go to Sparta, property of the legendary warriors that constitute the very best army in Greece. They cannot choose so they end up parting ways, Xeones…