The Wooden Walls of Thermopylae
Clink Street Publishing Published: February 2015 Price: £8.99 paperback
This book immerses the reader into the heart of Athens during the fateful decade linking the Battle of Marathon and Athens’s destruction during the Persian invasion of 480 BCE.
Guided in the first person by Mandrocles, readers experience the unfolding of Athenian policy and the triumph of Themistocles’s naval ambitions at the Battle of Artemisium which was fought as an addendum to the Spartan struggle at Thermopylae.
While the names of the battles may be well known, Brown adds the human touch to show us how history’s definitive moments are forged from the fog of politics and inter-state rivalry. Expertly researched this is a story for those with more than a smattering of knowledge about the period.
However, if you know your trireme from your Navarch, this is an enjoyable read that avoids stereotypes (not one drunken symposium is included!) and allows the reader to join Themistocles, Aeschylus and Cimon as Athens is recast from a city of moderate influence to that of a naval power.