THE ISLE OF STONE A NOVEL OF ANCIENT SPARTA
Having brought John Paul Jones and Alexander the Great to life, Nicastro (EMPIRE OF ASHES) turns his formidable skills as a historical novelist on an obscure episode in the Peloponnesian War, that almost three-decade conflict between Athens and Sparta, which he labels antiquity's "war to end all wars." The choice to have a narrow focus, rather than an all-encompassing epic sweep, proves a wise one, as it enables Nicastro to go into nitty-gritty detail about the lifestyles of Greece in 425 B.C., making the harsh Spartan attitudes, for example, comprehensible, if not acceptable, to a modern sensibility. The author instills emotional depth in his three main charactersDamatria, a wealthy Spartan woman, and her two sons, Antalcidas and Epitadasand the supporting cast through adept use of the telling descriptive phrase. The careful research and study that went into this book should enthrall fans of the classics, military history buffs and general readers.
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On THE ISLE
OF STONE: A Novel of Ancient Sparta (To be released December 6, 2005):
Cartledge, Professor of Greek History, University of Cambridge, and author
of Alexander the Great: The Hunt for a New Past
"From its explosive first pages, THE ISLE OF STONE draws you into the gritty reality of Sparta during the Peloponnesian War. Nicastro writes powerful prose, but this is no exercise in debunking. With drama, passion, and a sure touch for the facts, Nicastro reveals the heroism behind the humiliation of the shocking day when some of Sparta's unconquerable soldiers surrendered. His images of life and death under the Mediterranean sun hit you like the glare of a polished shield."
Barry Strauss, author of The Battle of Salamis: The Naval Encounter that Saved Greeceand Western Civilization and Professor of History and Classics, Cornell University
one of Nicastro's books has the same fascination as staring at a terrible
car crash. The scenes he constructs force us to grapple with the disturbing
roots of our own cultural assumptions. Each of these characters spins
into a series of bloody events far beyond individual control. Nicastro
lays naked the complex web of collective motivations that shape the events
of history... By giving human faces to the dry bones of ancient battles,
he goes a long way towards making ancient motivations somehow explicable.
Once again, Nicastro proves his talent for capturing the attitude of historical
times while spinning a passionate drama."