"The Sacred Band is much more than great Heroic Fantasy: it is classic literature, filled with sub-plots, a fine cast of well-drawn characters, insight and wisdom and recurring themes of honor, faith, brotherhood and love. This novel spoke to me on a personal level because it's a story of pure human drama and powerful emotions. While the characters are larger than life, they are also richly-drawn and written with great depth of insight and humanity. What also rings true with the Sacred Band is their military tradition, their ethos. These characters are soldiers, warriors. They are not only mythic heroes, they are also everyday heroes; real people, everyday people who face extraordinary odds and foes. They are true to all who have served in any branch of the military. This is not sword and sorcery, this is not elves and dwarves and high-concept fantasy . . . The Sacred Band has the sharp edge of reality, the harshness, the bitterness and the danger of the real world. Love, loyalty, honor--these are the ideals by which these characters live and die. This novel is epic in scope. It is mythic by heritage. It is positively Homeric. This is a 5-Star novel written by two highly-talented writers who have been around for a very long time, who have not lost their chops and their edge, and have not slowed down. There is so much in this novel to enjoy, so much I haven't even touched on. All I can say is that this is classic stuff. Buy it. Read it. You'll see.
As Tempus and the Sacred Band would say, "Life to you, and everlasting glory."' Joe Bonadonna, Black Gate Adventures in Fantasy Literature
"Janet Morris, Tempus (1987), and, with Chris Morris, Tempus Unbound (1989), The Sacred Band (2010).
"A fantasy series about the Sacred Band of Stepsons, an elite army modeled on the fourth-century B.C.E. Sacred Band of Thebes. The stories explore the fraught personal relationships of mixed hetero- and homosexual troops, only sometimes paired, as they fight for their commander, the immortal Tempus. Morris includes archaeological and historical details, from physical items to social practices, religion, and philosophy, to create a fantasy world that is, in many ways, more historically accurate than many popular accounts of antiquity." -- Robert W. Cape, Jr, in Classical Traditions in Science Fiction, Brett M. Rogers & Benjamin Eldon Stevens, eds., Oxford University Press
5 stars. Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
In The Sacred Band: Sacred Band Series (Volume 8) by Janet Morris and Chris Morris, ethos and mythos combine; history remakes itself, dimensions are crossed, and realities diverge as the gods and Fates demand. The story opens over three hundred years before the birth of Christ with the rescue of forty-six fighters from the defeated Theban army at the Battle of Chaeronea; a plea for their lives from a foreign cavalry commander, Tempus the Black, which the Storm God grants. These twenty-three paired brothers and lovers join the Sacred Band of Stepsons and flee to fight another day on another battleground. They reach the legendary land of Lemuria, and then go on to the fantasy town of Sanctuary. Will they evade the Theban goddess, Harmony, and the angry Fates?
Janet Morris and Chris Morris have created a classic fantasy that explores love in war, honour, sacrifice, philosophy, religion, theomachy, and the maturation of the human spirit. Beautifully-written and character-driven, the focus of The Sacred Band is the fate of the Sacred Band of Stepsons as it absorbs the rescued Thebans and enters upon a chain of events leading to a battle with the entelechy of dream, in which the Battle of Chaeronea is re-fought with the many major differences that dreams permit. The Sacred Band is a mythical tale with all the breadth and scope that the word implies. It emulates, and to a degree draws on, the works of Plutarch, Plato, Heraclitus and Homer, but is much easier to follow and consequently is utterly captivating.
From the Inside Flap
"Paired cavalry fighters; formed ranks of armored death; grim men on tall horses with lightning limning weapons tailored to the task; men spoiling for a fight if the gods allowed -- the Sacred Band of Stepsons, out from shadows and the dark."
So begins The Sacred Band, a mythic novel of the iconic Tempus and his Sacred Band of Stepsons. In a sweeping saga of love and death, the historic Sacred Band of Thebes meets the legendary Sacred Band of Stepsons and, together, battle for a future beyond imagining.
On a battlefield of ancient Greece, one war ends and another begins, a world away. In August of 338 BCE, during the Battle of Chaeronea that destroys the Sacred Band of Thebes, Tempus and his Stepson cavalry rescue twenty-three pairs of warriors to fight on other days in fable Sanctuary. These forty-six Thebans, whose bones will never lie beside their two-hundred fifty-four brothers, join with the immortalized Tempus and his Sacred Band to make new lives in a faraway land and fight the battle of their dreams where gods walk the earth, shades take the field, and angry Fates demand their due.
Heroes and enemies clash in a confrontation three decades in the making: Tempus and his right-side partner, Nikodemos; star-crossed Critias and Straton; Randal the warrior-mage and a new generation of young Stepsons face their doom with unflinching determination, holding tight to their lovers and their weapons, defying even the warring gods.