Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Spartans at the Gates: A Novel

Spartans at the Gates: A Novel

Noble Smith

Thomas Dunne Books




The Peloponnesian War has begun. An army of merciless Spartan invaders have arrived at the gates of Plataea, bent on obliterating the independent city-state and its inhabitants. Plataea's oldest allies, the Athenians, are spread too thin in their own campaigns to send help. Cut off and alone, the Plataeans have dug in behind their high walls for the coming attack, while the tyrannical Spartans prepare to lay siege.

On a rugged mountain road, a young Plataean warrior named Nikias rides to Athens on an urgent quest. He carries with him a bag of ill-gotten gold, hoping to raise an army of mercenaries to help defend his citadel from the Spartan assault. But in the sprawling stronghold of Athens, Nikias encounters perils that prove to be more dangerous than those he has faced on the battlefield.

Noble Smith's Spartans at the Gates transports us to the dawn of one of history's most famous wars--a fight that would tear apart the great powers of ancient Greece.



She was a creature foaled from the West Wind—a muscular white mare racing down a fog-covered road at dawn. A young horseman leaned over her neck, his strong legs hugging her rib cage, moving with the rhythm of the animal's strides,...


Praise for Spartans at the Gates: A Novel

“I loved this book. The writing is as tight as a phalanx, the action as bloody and satisfying as a well-cooked steak, and the characters are beautifully drawn and utterly convincing. Noble Smith brings the gory political struggles of fifth-century Greece vividly to life in a way that I haven't seen since the novels of Mary Renault. A superb historical novel by a master storyteller.” —Angus Donald, author of Warlord

“Crammed with twists and turns, Spartans at the Gates is a high-adrenaline tale of battle and intrigue, honor and treachery, that once underway never lets up its pace. Throughout the novel Smith's passion for his subject shines through, and the struggles against the odds of his young heroes, Nikias and Kolax, are told with verve and a keen eye for the detail of life in ancient Greece.” —James Aitcheson, author of Sworn Sword

“Smith employs excellent research skills to populate the narrative with entertaining historical factoids about food, sex, dress--some of the best centering on Spartan life and ethos--not to mention the assorted duplicities and fragile political alliances among the city-states. … Something different for historical fiction fans.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The fantastic setting is there, the descriptive is there, the research is impeccable, the characters are once again sublime. ... A truly excellent read, crammed with great characters and storytelling, an engaging and fast paced writing skill and style to rival the best of them” —Parmenion Books

“The pacing never slackens and the descriptions--whether of gruesomely realistic battle scenes or passionate lovemaking--put the reader in the moment. Smith clearly knows his history and is able to weave both big themes and minute details into a seamless narrative while at the same time offering large doses of levity that make you care about the each character.” —Historical Novels Review

“It takes an author with real talent to engross us in a story. It takes even more talent for an author to convince us we're completely in his world. The guy knows his subject! But forget the meticulous research. Open the first page, sit back with your favorite beverage, and let Smith work his magic. Terrific action, with a wickedly brilliant plot, visceral combat, and nail-biting treachery, even the love story.... In the end you'll be as delighted as we were to discover a skyrocketing new talent in historical fiction, and wanting more.” —W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear, authors of People of the Morning Star on Sons of Zeus

“Those interested in ancient Greek history, particularly warfare, should be looking forward to the sequels.” —Historical Novels Review on Sons of Zeus

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Noble Smith

NOBLE SMITH is an award-winning playwright who has worked as a video-game writer, a documentary-film executive producer, and the media director of an international human rights foundation. He is also the author of the novella Stolen from Gypsies, the nonfiction book The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life, and the first book in the Warrior Trilogy, Sons of Zeus. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and children.

Noble Smith

Pavlina Ortiz

From the Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books

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