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4.24.2015

The Queen of Sparta ~ Review

The Queen of Sparta
By T. S. Chaudhry

What if?  What if the Greek resistance against Persia and her invasion of Greece was strategized by Queen Gorgo by Sparta.
The Queen of Sparta is historical fiction set in a time of war.  This is not a dry, boring reading experience, but rather an intriguing and engrossing story.

But when the imminent threat of Persia is ended with Greece's victory the Greek states and her people begin to turn on one another.  And then there is the matter of Greeks who collaborated with the Persians.

Prince Sherzada, who was Scythian, fought with the Persians and taken as a prisoner by the Spartans.  He provided much insight into the Persians and their mindset following their defeat.  His intelligence and wit seem to be well matched with Queen Gorgo.  But this prince, this Scythian is unusual in that he believes in one God.

As Sparta begins to unravel within as petty bickering threats the state's stability, Gorgo is left with a choice.  Should she stay and fight to save Sparta from itself or leave behind the life, the world, she has always known to save the life of her son and her own?

What follows is an exciting and interesting story based on what if.   This is the story that was shared years later with Alexander the Great during his campaign to conquer the world.

I was provided a copy of this book through PUYB in exchange for my honest review and tour participation.


About the Author

T. S. Chaudhry was born in Karachi, Pakistan. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Formerly a Pakistani diplomat, Chaudhry currently works for
the United Nations on peace and security issues in Africa.

The Queen of Sparta is Chaudhry’s first novel. He came up with the idea to write a story about Queen Gorgo being the architect of the Greek resistance against the Persian invasion while reading Herodotus for his A-Level examination in England several
decades ago. “As a lover of history, or a ‘history-buff,’ I have always enjoyed reading both fiction and nonfiction about this period.”

Chaudhry is currently working on a “prequel” to The Queen of Sparta based on
events leading up to the Battle of Marathon, called Fennel Field.

For More Information
 Connect with T.S. on Facebook.
 Find out more about T.S. at Goodreads.

About the Book
Title: The Queen of Sparta
Author: T.S. Chaudhry
Publisher: Top Hat Books
Pages: 383
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Author T.S. Chaudhry offers a new spin on Spartan history in his novel, THE QUEEN
OF SPARTA. In the book, Queen Gorgo, the wife of the courageous Spartan leader,
Leonidas, surreptitiously organizes the Greek resistance against the invasion of the
mighty Persian king, Xerxes, and his massive army. Although founded on the writings of
historian, Herodotus, Chaudhry’s revision of the 480 B.C. invasion challenges readers to
imagine the brilliant and politically savvy Queen Gorgo as the Spartan leader who
wielded her power with stealth and cunning to end the Persian occupation of Greece.

Gorgo devises a strategy using espionage and diplomacy, in addition to Sparta’s military
might, to defeat the Persians and drive them out of Greece. During the last battle of the
war, Prince Sherzada, a Saka, is captured while fighting on the Persian side. He is
imprisoned by Gorgo, who has vowed to kill him. However, an unexpected alliance
blooms between Gorgo and Sherzada, based on common perceptions and a shared dark
secret. As allies, the queen and prince face new dangers from within Sparta that threaten
the safety of Gorgo and her young son, the king.

As the story progresses, Queen Gorgo must choose between confronting the reactionary
forces within Sparta directly or saving her life and the life of her child.

THE QUEEN OF SPARTA begins on the Banks of Indus, and takes the reader through
time and space to Greece, Tuscany, Rome, and the Baltic coast of northern Europe and
attempts to link some of the main cultures of that time period. “In the novel, I tried to
present the conflict through the eyes of two protagonists,” Chaudhry states. “The Greek
viewpoint is presented through Queen Gorgo, and the opposing one is represented by
Prince Sherzada, who becomes her prisoner. The whole story is also a deliberate attempt
to confuse ‘the possession’ of history because, actually, history belongs to all of us.”

THE QUEEN OF SPARTA informs the reader about the politics of ancient Greece in the
5th Century, B.C. and about Sparta, its people, and its culture; the book also describes
what made the Spartans great while sharing the flaws and contradictions within their
society. Chaudhry notes that “fiction is art immitating life. That is how I see the
relationship between historical fiction and history. History has wonderful stories to tell.
And it gets more wonderful the further in the past you go where evidence is sparse, but
the realm of creativity is rich. I love to find out how things happened the way they did.
Ancient history provides us with a rich variety of potential answers that are always fun to
explore.”

The author’s goal in writing THE QUEEN OF SPARTA was to share the message that
“one must stand for one’s principles, for what one believes to be right, even in the face of
overwhelming opposition.”

For More Information

 The Queen of Sparta is available at Amazon.
 Pick up your copy at Barnes and Noble.
 Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Excerpt 
The Agora
Sparta
Autumn, 480 BC 

The man was trying to sit very still. He was on horseback, in full armour, facing a throng
of mostly unarmed men and women. And yet he was trembling. He seemed too afraid
even to dismount his horse.

A man, in front of the crowd, laughed. He was tall, with hair falling well below
his shoulder and an equally long moustache-less beard. “This time they sent us a Greek.
Why did the Persians send you and not one of their own? Are they afraid we would stuff
them down the well again?”

Laughter roared across the marketplace.

The envoy, still shaking, cleared his throat and said, “I bring a message from the
Great King Xerxes to the King of Sparta.”

A small voice shouted, “I am he!”

Looking down, the envoy saw a small dark-haired boy of around eight years
looking up at him. He waited for someone to laugh at the boy’s impertinence or even
shout at him. But none did.

“I am Pleistarchus, son of Leonidas,” said the boy.

The messenger plucked enough courage to say, “Sparta has two kings. I wish to
speak with the older one.”

A young woman had stepped forward. She was long-haired and beautiful.
Standing behind the boy, she placed her hands on his small shoulders. “He is away,” she
said. “You will have to deliver your message to my son.”

 “Go on,” said the boy king, his tiny voice carrying authority.

“His Majesty, King Xerxes, says: I have destroyed your army at Thermopylae. My
forces have occupied Athens. And your turn will soon come. You are advised to submit
without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I shall destroy your farms,
slaughter your people, and raze your city to the ground.”

There was silence.

The boy king turned around and looked up at his mother. Her eyes blazed as she stared
into the eyes of the messenger. Her lips curled mischievously as she gave him her
response: “If!”