4 out of 4 stars
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The Last Shades of Scarlet: Wolves of Laconia by William A. Lamon is a historical fiction about self-awakening and survival. It highlights the conflict over the different ideals in Greece and the desire to fight on the Spartan front. Also, the novel illustrates themes such as war, injustice, death, and romance.
Briefly, this book focuses on the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, two states with different political philosophies. The story is presented through the viewpoint of Adronikos, a young Spartan who is training with his mentor Gylippus to become a true warrior. Adronikos illustrates Sparta's military force, his instruction with other Spartan boys, and the strategy to protect Laconia.
I liked how William Lamon presented the protagonist's development in social and emotional plan and his humanity from the perspective of war. I empathized with Andronikos and his inner struggles between his desire to marry the girl he loves, Gorga, and his family's honor and duty to Sparta. I appreciated that he did not abandon his comrade Bull, although he was wounded and could slow them down in their expedition to discover the weaknesses in each polis. Also, I liked how Hippagretas, his father, did not neglect duty and encouraged his children to learn from their mistakes.
There is nothing I disliked about this book. I liked how the author illustrated the reality of war and the lust for the victory of the Spartan army. I was impressed by how the Spartans preserved the dignity of the Athenians killed in battle. For instance, they guarded their enemies' bodies, did not rob them of their equipment, and did not need personal trophies from them. Also, I liked that William Lamon included a glossary with terms specific to the period 431–404 BC.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars because William A. Lamon managed to remarkably reproduce the vivid description of the Peloponnesian War and respected its historical context. I liked Andronikos's wisdom, his monologues about fate and direction given by gods, and his tacit affection for Gorga. I appreciated Gylippus' coherent speeches and wise teachings. Also, the book was exceptionally well edited. I discovered no single error while reading it.
I recommend this book to the fans of historical fiction, especially those who like the history of Sparta. It is unsuitable for sensitive people due to its carnage scenes and violent descriptions of bloodlust and rape. Also, The Last Shades of Scarlet: Wolves of Laconia addresses a mature audience because William Lamon illustrated non-borderline profanity and sexual content.
Wolves of Laconia
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