This is the third of Lysander’s adventures. Slowly, the mystery of the pendant that he wears round his neck and his dual heritage of Spartan aristocrat father and Helot (slave) mother is being teased out in tales that otherwise are about male comradeship, bruising training for war and the ordeals of battle and torture. Here, Lysander and his fellow trainees are sent on a suicide mission to win back a Spartan colony from an uprising. The action is relentless, and little space is left for any complexity in the portrayal of individual character or society – or for any consideration of the psychological effects of the combat at close quarters that is described so graphically. Is it only in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, I wonder, that soldiers suffer from post traumatic stress? And, if so, what is it in former societies that hardens them to these experiences and how might this affect society beyond the battlefield? Sparta might be a good subject for such consideration, but when, towards the end of the book, in a single paragraph, Lysander muses about the morality of war, it seems to be more of a gesture on the author’s part than an integral part of the story. Perhaps too much can’t be asked of what is essentially a boy’s action adventure. It is curious, however, that we still offer fantasies of warfare to young people, particularly boys, and leave the reality till they become adults.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Richard Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Richard Hill2009-07-01 16:03:272022-12-11 16:05:52Spartan Warrior: Legacy of Blood