Steven Pressfield's Gates of Fire is an interesting look at the battle of Thermopylae from the viewpoint of a boy who has fled to Sparta after his own city is sacked and destroyed. It's full of gritty, noisome detail that makes it very clear that any illusions about the neatness and order of warfare during the Persian wars are just that, illusions. Pressfield does an excellent job not only with his depictions of the battles but his ongoing analysis of fear and the opposite of fear, the nuts and bolts of Spartan society, and the relationship between gods and men in this period of classical Greece. Along with the horror of battle, there's a good deal of crude humor, but no hot sex scenes of any description. One could assign this to a high-school English class, provided nobody had qualms about the explicit violence and gore. The style of writing is interesting, too, and the whole thing tempts me to look at Pressfield's other books. Except for The Legend of Bagger Vance, of course, because that's full of golf and therefore, fail. Highly recommended this book is!
Today's been full of work, lots of cutting and pasting and e-mailing and replying to e-mails, but things have finally slacked off. Thank God. My trackball hand is starting to ache a little.