The Spartan Dagger

the-spartan-daggerAuthor: Nicholas Guild

Publisher: Forge Books

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A wickedly exciting cat and mouse game set in Ancient Greece!

As young Protos and his parents leave his dying uncle’s house, two young Spartan soldiers emerge in the dark with no other intention to kill them for sport. At his father’s command, Protos runs away as his parents are slaughtered by the two soldiers.  One of the soldiers than takes off for him, but he is careless and Protos manages to knock him out and then steal his dagger.  When he wakes up, Protos then kills him.  When the other soldier finds that his brother has been killed, he declares that he will find this boy and hunt him down.  His name is Eurytus.  The next day, Eurytus and four more Spartans return to find Protos and go to his uncle’s house.  When they cannot tell him where he went, the Spartans murder the entire family just as Protos returns to witness.  He then leads the soldiers into a trap where he single handedly relieves them of their heads and throws them at Eurytus.  Now a personal battle between the two has been waged.

As time goes on, Protos moves onto Thebes where he becomes one of Sparta’s main enemies. Throughout assassination attempts, battles, and quarrels, Protos and Eurytus come to understand and respect one another.  They are not friends, but neither of them can imagine life without the other.  The thought of a future without looking forward to vengeance fills empty.  But no one can live forever and someone must win the battle between the two.

If a book could play chess against itself, this would be a master game. The strategy that is set up in this book between Protos and Eurytus is very well played out by both of the characters.  It is always one of them makes a move and the other counters and then so on and so forth.  I was engrossed within the book very quickly and enjoyed the entire story.  The historical setting and characters played out interestingly for history too.  Specifically the diplomats of Thebes.  If you’ve never read a book about this location in this era, your eyes may be opened.  If really gets into great, yet disturbing, detail on many aspects of the way of life.  Even so, the back and forth between the two main characters was great.  With many of the movies today that depict Ancient Sparta, you find yourself rooting for them.  However, that is not the case in this book.  For once, I was rooting against them and for a common slave that was a natural born warrior, but reluctant leader.  But aren’t those the best kind?

There was very little foul language in the book. However, there was a lot of graphic violence.  Also, there was a lot of implied sex and sexual activity throughout the book.  Nothing really graphic, but enough that some readers will get uncomfortable, especially the parts with underage kids.  However, I understand that this is what went on in that time and to be historically accurate, some of it has to be depicted, even if it gives some shock value.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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