THE ISLE OF STONE A NOVEL OF ANCIENT SPARTA

Reviews

From Publishers Weekly:
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 characters—Damatria, a wealthy Spartan woman, and her two sons, Antalcidas and Epitadas—and 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):
"With THE ISLE OF STONE, Nicholas Nicastro joins the illustrious pedigree of Mary Renault, Valerio Massimo Manfredi and Steven Pressfield with great style and enormous panache. His hero's checkered lifestory is used to frame a dark and darkening history of Sparta between a hugely destructive natural disaster, a great earthquake in 464 BC, and a self-inflicted, man-made debacle during the prolonged and even more destructive Peloponnesian War. Nicastro knows his ancient sources intimately, but also has the born novelist's instinct to flesh out their bare bones all too plausibly. Nicastro's antiheroes of the isle of Sphacteria are the dark side of Pressfield's heroes in Gates of Fire: both demand and repay the attention of all lovers of expert historical fiction."

—Paul 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


"Reading 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."
—Pamela Goddard, The Ithaca Times

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ISBN 0451217128

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