Noble Smith: Sons of Zeus (Review)

Author

Noble-Smith_homepage

Noble Smith is an award-winning playwright and documentary film executive producer as well as a 16-year veteran of the interactive entertainment industry as a narrative designer. He is the author of The Wisdom of the Shire, a guide to life for fans of J.R.R. Tolkien (translated into 8 languages), praised by Kirkus Reviews as a “must-have” for fans of Middle-earth. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and children.

Product Description

zeus

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In 431 B.C., Ancient Greece experienced its own “Pearl Harbor” – a treacherous sneak attack that would mark the start of the bloody war between the democracy of Athens and the tyranny of Sparta. Caught between these superpowers, the independent city-state of Plataea became the arena where their battle for control of all of Greece would begin.

In Plataea, the young Greek warrior Nikias dreams of glory in the Olympic games as he trains for the pankration – the no-holds-barred ultimate fighting of the era – until an act of violence in defense of his beloved threatens to send him into exile. But before his trial can take place, a traitor opens the city gates to a surprise attack force.

Suddenly trapped inside their own fortress, the Plataeans are fighting for their lives. As Nikias seeks to discover the identity of the man who betrayed the city, he makes a daring escape, gathers an army, and leads this ragtag band into a suicidal battle at the gates of the citadel – a battle that will decide the fates of his family, his friends, and the woman he loves.

In the vein of Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden, and Steven Pressfield, Sons of Zeus marks the beginning of a richly detailed new action-adventure series.

Sons of Zeus Review

It’s always a privilege to be considered as worthy to review a book, and even more so to be specifically asked to do so.

This book was one that had managed to slip past what I thought was a fairly good radar for new books and new authors. So to get the nod as someone who knows / likes good Historical Fiction especially that which is set in Ancient Greece was a bit of an ego boost.

To then, via some back and forth email banter discover that the author is also a total gent, really nice bloke and someone with a real passion for the period was all I needed to whole heartedly say yes please.

Yet somehow it then took me 6 or 7 weeks to crack the book open, this I can only put down to the pressures of one of the busiest years ever for fantastic books. It’s not like the book isn’t visually appealing, the book, a burnt orange colour depicting a Warrior in full panoply backed by a city in flames. The cover shouts that the story is bursting forth from the pages with tales of action, violence and history.

I was determined that this really nice bloke would get his review, so two nights ago I picked up the book. WOW what a journey, two nights of staying up until around 2am to finish the book left me tired, but the book left me exhausted. Both from the pace of the plot and the battles, but also from the emotion of the loss of life and loved ones. The brutality of war and life in ancient Plataean Greece, and the standards to which most of the men and women held themselves for honour, propriety and prowess.

Noble, uses and weaves his tale into the history really well, introducing characters, creating others, breathing life into every one of them. But he also manages to educate the reader on life at the time without making it feel like a history lesson. He works from a neutral standpoint not judging but allowing the reader to judge good from bad. Even hero’s commit evil acts, its just depends on time place and circumstance. War is an evil mistress, and demands a high price.

It takes a really strong book to keep me up late (I have a 2 year old, and a job, sleep is precious) It takes a great story to make me read and read until I fall asleep holding the book, or have to physically force myself to put the book down.

In the shape of Nikias the young warrior, his grandfather Menesarkus the old general, the household slave, the Skythian slave, the blacksmith and inventor Chusor  and many other great character inventions Noble Smith takes a passage from Thucydides “History of the Peloponnesian War” covering an attempt by the Thebans to take over their rivals the Plataeans city and adds meat to the bones to create this wonderful take, the first I hope in a long series.

The publisher blurb makes a comparison to Conwell and Pressfield. I would be more inclined to make a comparison to Christian Cameron, the tale gripped me with the same intensity that his books do.

Very highly recommended, one of my top 5 books for the year.

(Parm)

Coming in June 2014 Spartans at the Gates

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7 Comments

Filed under Historical Fiction

7 responses to “Noble Smith: Sons of Zeus (Review)

  1. Thanks for this wonderful review, Robin! I’m proud to have kept you up nights. Spartans at the Gates is done. I just sent off my corrected draft and it will go to the line editor now. To read more about the sequel check out my blog: http://www.thewarriortrilogy.com/work-in-progress-spartans-at-the-gates
    And thanks again!

  2. This is the era of ancient history I first fell in love with…added this to my wanna read list…

  3. Pingback: Parmenion Books 2013 in review | parmenionbooks

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