During the Second Messenian War, two women, one beautiful and one ugly are captured and enslaved by the Spartans.
This book picks up where Are They Singing in Sparta? ended. It revolves around unrequited love on all sides, and is a reflection on what beauty is and how it affects human interactions -- with a surprise ending.
The Eurypontid king Demaratus is accused of being a usurper, while the Agiad king Cleomenes is going dangerously mad. More and more Spartans turn to Leonidas for leadership. But Leonidas is the younger of twins, and his brother Brotus has no intention of letting Leonidas lay claim to the Agiad throne.
The murder of a Persian ambassador sets in train the inevitable conflict between Sparta and Persia that will take Leonidas to Thermopylae -- and into history.
Two cities at war
Two men with Olympic ambitions
And one slave -- the finest Charioteer in all Hellas.
This is the story of one man's journey from tragedy to triumph -- and the founding of the first non-aggression pact in recorded history: The Peloponnesian League.
The smaller of twins, born long after two elder brothers, Leonidas was considered superfluous at birth. Lucky not to be killed for being undersized, he was raised not as a prince, but as an ordinary citizen. As such he had to endure the harsh upbringing of ordinary Spartan youth: the Agoge.
Barefoot, always a little hungry, and subject to rigid discipline, Leonidas must prove himself worthy of Spartan citizenship.
Messenia is in revolt, and the Messenians have been out-witting Sparta's crack troops. On the advice of Delphi, Sparta requests that Athens appoint a new Supreme Commander for Sparta's army. Athens intentionally selects an obscure schoolmaster unlikely to help Sparta win the war: Tyrtaios. He is lame, has no military experience, and everything he has ever heard about Sparta makes it the last place on earth he wants to live....
Now a young man, Leonidas is determined to prove himself a "peerless peer" -- the perfect Spartan citizen.
In search of a wife, he courts a beauty, but another young woman knows she is destined to be his queen: Gorgo. Together they increasingly gain the respect of their fellow Spartans as the power of distant Persian increasingly threatens the world they know and love.