©2000 Steven Pressfield; (P)2000 Random House, Inc.; Jacket Illustration by John Blackford; Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio, A Division of Random House, Inc.
A student quizzes his grandfather to recall the story of a soldier/assassin who fought with Alcebiades. This is Historical Fiction, it centers around Alcebiades and the war, and the democracy. Well researched, somewhat compelling if you have an interest in this period. Told through this prism of a companion of Alcebiades we track the events of this fratricidal war, it's an interesting and digestible way to learn the history of the characters.
I don't really *do* fiction so can't comment on it as a novel. But it's great as history, it made these historical characters relatable for me.
I think you need a decent understanding of the war already, to follow the narrative of this story. For example the author takes no time to explain the city states, if you are not already aware of terms like Lacedaemonian, Thrace, or Hellespont then much of this book might pass you by you will be wondering what is going on. So my recommendation: download first the audio book for "The Peloponnesian War" by "the Great Courses" it's on Audible , or listen to Donald Kegan's Yale lecture series which is on YouTube.
Very enjoyable if you want to go deeper into this interesting period of history of war and democracy.
Fabulous storytelling evocative of the politics, intrigue and drama of a bygone era steeped in the eternal conflict of personal loyalty and acting in the interests of the greater good. Thoroughly enjoyed it and David Jacobi's voice adds an air of gravitas and dignity that such a tale warrants and deserves.
Best novel ever written on the "Spartans Last Stand" Some parts of it brought me to tears. It has so much - the characters brought to life so completely. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
"Pressfield is Terrific"
This book was not as good as Gates of Fire (AWESOME!) but still another terrific story. The narrator should win an award of some kind. His voice transitions for the characters and inflection is flawless.
"Different Themes than Gates of Fire"
Another excellent book by Steven Pressfield. But this time instead of dealing with the the themes of might and valor, Tides of War deals with betrayal, redemption, and forgiveness, and not just of others, but of one's self.
As the narration bounces from sources at the beginning, the story is a little hard to follow. But this only lasts for a short period of time. Then the story takes off.
The cascading effects of the wrongs people do against one another is at the forefront of this whole story. It's a vicious cycle that no one can stop.
"Good, but doesn't sparkle."
Pressfield writes well and researches professionally. "Gates of Fire", the book before this one (though not necessary to read first) cracked with an energy that "Tides of War" never quite achieves. This book is interesting in its exploration of the wide canvas that was the Peleponisian (sp?) War, and of the character of Alcibiades, who, thorough cunning and generalship, fought for all three sides in the 30-year conflict, making each love him and despise him. However, the narrative device of telling the story through the remove of not one but two recollections tends to make the story less urgent and more "historical" feeling, rather than "immediate drama". While I loved the setting and the details of the story, I found it was easy to hit the "pause" button whenever something else called my attention. If you liked "Gates of War" this book might indeed be for you, although I wonder if it isn't better read than listened to. Those who like military themes, historical narratives and anything having to do with Ancient Greece will enjoy this book.
"A master storyteller"
Steven Pressfield is better known for another great story, The Legend of Bagger Vance. In Tides of War, Pressfield also shows that he is a masterful storyteller, with history, characters, plots and sub-plots all entertwined but all progressing throughout the story.
I loved Gates of Fire and thought I couldn't go wrong with this offering from Steven Pressfield. Perhaps the bar was set too high, but I was bored at times with Tides of War. Thankfully I could speed up the audio version of the book, otherwise I might have just put it down permanently.
"Great novel of an epic time"
The structure of this book is a bit odd. Characters telling the stories of other characters. Listening to it, it got confusing at times. When Pressfield's other book, The Last of the Amazons, was recorded they smartly used multiple voices when he used a similar technique. Be that as it may, the book was still wonderful. It might work better reading it. I wish it wasn't abridged.
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