Gates of Fire is a novel about the Battle of Thermopylae that takes place in ancient Greece. The novel began by focusing on its protagonist, Xeones, who had died in the Battle of Thermopylae. The Greek god Apollo resurrected him from death so that he could tell the Persian king, Xerxes, the story of his life. Xeones story started when he was just a young boy. His town was betrayed and conquered by one of their allies. He avoided being killed by escaping to the mountains with his cousin, Diomache, and his family’s slave, Bruxieus. The three lived on the mountains for two or three years before Bruxieus became very sick and died. Because of this, Diomache and Xeones decided to go to Athens. Xeones then decided to leave Athens and go to Sparta while Diomache decided to stay.
In Sparta, Xeones became a helot and he was given to a Spartan soldier named Dienekes. Xeones was trained to fight like a Spartan and later became Dienekes’s battle squire. When Xeones was about twenty, the Spartan king, Leonidas, announced that three hundred Spartan men would be sent on a suicide mission to Thermopylae to hold off the invading Persian army. Dienekes was chosen to go. On the first and second day of battle, many Persians were killed, but only a few Greeks. At the end of the second day, Xerxes found a secret path where part of his army could go through and completely surround the Greeks on the next day. Leonidas was informed of this and sent a group of Spartans, including Xeones and Dienekes, on an unsuccessful mission to kill Xerxes. On the third day, the Persians surrounded the Spartans and they all were killed.
Xeones immediately died after he finished his story. His body was brought to Diomache in Athens. She cremated his body and...
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...ll the story of the Battle of Thermopylae. This makes it historical fiction.
The subgenre in Gates of Fire is adventure story. Adventure story is “A story in which action- often exterior, usually physical, and frequently violent- is the predominant material, stressed above characterization, motivation, or theme. Suspense is engendered by the question “What will happen next?” rather than “Why?” or “To whom?”” (6). Due to the fact this novel was mainly about war, it would be considered adventure. It left me wondering exactly what the quote stated, “What will happen next?”.
Harmon, William, William Flint Thrall, Addison Hibbard, and C. Hugh Holman. A Handbook to Literature. 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009. Print.
Pressfield, Steven. Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae. New York: Bantam, 1998. Print
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