From the Author
But Leonidas was not a young man at the historic battle where he gave his life. He had lived half a century (if not more) and reigned for ten years before he took command of the Greek alliance defying Persia. It was those years preceding the final confrontation with Persia that made him the man he would be at Thermopylae. To the extent that we admire his defiant stand, learning more about his early life and tracing the development of his character is important. Yet so very little is actually known about his early life that historians have been discouraged from attempting a biography.
Novelists, fortunately, enjoy more freedom, and what we do know about Leonidas' early life is enticing. In the first novel in this trilogy, A Boy of the Agoge, I built upon known facts about his birth and family situation and Sparta's unique educational system to construct a plausible picture of Leonidas' boyhood. In the second book, I focus on the next stage of his life, the years when he was a common citizen before becoming king. This is the period in which he married his niece Gorgo and gained experience in battle and politics. Building on the few known facts, listening to the sayings attributed to Leonidas and Gorgo, and knowing how Leonidas met his destiny at Thermopylae, I have written this novel.
The characters that emerge are greater than the historical input. Leonidas is consciously portrayed as the quintessential archaic Spartan, because that is what he has become in legend. Gorgo, likewise, epitomizes that which set Spartan women apart from their contemporaries, without robbing her of individual traits and personality. The two principals are surrounded by a large cast of secondary, largely fictional characters, each of which is unique and complex.
About the Author
Visit her website: helenapschrader.com for descriptions of her publications or follow her blog: schradershistoricalfiction.blogspot.com for updates on current works in progress or recent reviews and publications.
For more on the Schrader Tales of Chivalry series visit: talesofchivalry.com, for more about her current work-in-progress, a biographical novel of Balian d'Ibelin, and the crusader kingdoms visit: defenderofjerusalem or follow her blog on the Crusader Kingdoms at: defendingcrusaderkingdoms.blogspot.com.
Helena is a career Foreign Service Officer currently serving in Africa.