The Fire of Ares

The Fire of Ares

4.5 18
by Michael Ford

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An action-packed tale of honor, glory, and epic battles in ancient GreeceSee more details below


An action-packed tale of honor, glory, and epic battles in ancient Greece

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 6-10- Lysander is a slave in Sparta. His one valuable possession is a mysterious amulet, called the Fire of Ares, handed down from his dead father whose true identity he never knew. After it is stolen by warriors, one of the most powerful men in Sparta comes to Lysander's aid, and the man realizes that the amulet belonged to his son, a Spartan warrior, and suspects that the boy is his grandson. Once confirmed, he puts an end to the boy's backbreaking fieldwork and enrolls him in Spartan warrior training. Lysander's dying mother, a slave who did not reveal her son's paternity to keep him safe from those who hate mythokes , or "half-breeds," begins to receive care. Lysander meets with prejudice and anger from his fellow students, one of whom he is sure stole the amulet. He must continually prove himself until at last he prevails at the annual games, beating his tormentors. Ford's engaging work weaves information about ancient Greek customs into the story of an underdog who triumphs. The characters are stereotypes, but recognizable ones with whom readers will feel comfortable. The author doesn't sugarcoat the abusive treatment of slaves by Spartans or of the young warriors by their teachers, and mythology and fact intermingle well in the characters' names. Give this to fans of the movies Gladiator and 300 .-Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA

Kirkus Reviews
This first in a series explores ancient Sparta and the tensions between the ruling Spartans and their slaves, the Helots. Young Lysander lives as a slave with a secret: He possesses a mythical jewel that his ailing mother insists he must never lose. Ford weaves an exciting if somewhat implausible story around the theft of the jewel and Lysander's rise into freedom and inclusion in the Spartan system of barracks-style education. If the plot raises an eyebrow, it doesn't prevent Ford from illustrating daily life in Sparta quite effectively, making its history palatable to young readers. As Lysander struggles with the demands of his tutors, he feels conflicting loyalties to both the Spartans and Helots. Ford includes plenty of thrilling fights and footraces as he propels his story toward a sequel. Blood and sweat enhance the book's appeal. A useful introduction to ancient history for its target audience. (Historical fiction. YA)

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Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Spartan Quest Series , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
10 Years

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