Ancient Hoplites

Ancient Hoplites

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Review of "A Peerless Peer"

The following review of Leonidas of Sparta: A Peerless Peer was recently published. Thank you, Geoffrey!

Leonidas of Sparta: A Peerless Peer, by Helena Schrader, picks up where her first book about his childhood leaves off. She writes about relationships he built over his life, his life coming up in the ranks as he served in the military, and his exploits in battle against enemies, wildlife, and natural disasters. He learns about diplomacy, maritime warfare, and other cultures. During this period, Leonidas continues to learn and grow in the Spartan culture. He even marries and starts his own family. Since he is an Agiad prince, he has family complexity that he skillfully considers, and then navigates his life and career accordingly.

I have never been a fan of historical fiction, but these books really bring history to life. While it is not a story of fact, it contextualizes what we know with what might have been about that time and place. If you want to learn about Sparta during the fifth century BC, this book is a worthwhile read.

In the book’s historical notes section, Schrader explains why she routes the story in the manor she does, and she makes a lot of sense. She does not fear going against commonly accepted conjecture about Sparta, and calls out unsupported myths for what they are. Her challenges are supported with her own hypothesizes using what she and others know about that period. She shares a refreshing perspective.

The author is writing a third and final book about Leonidas, and I cannot wait for its completion and release. I have not been this excited about a book for as long as I can remember. Quite a strange feeling, so I am compelled to cheer Schrader on in her endeavors. I believe this author and historian deserves more notoriety than she gets. Read these books if you want to learn while being entertained at the same time.”

Geoffrey Smigun

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