Last of the Amazons
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The author of the international bestsellers Gates of Fire and Tides of War delivers his most gripping and imaginative novel of the ancient world–a stunning epic of love and war that breathes life into the grand myth of the ferocious female warrior culture of the Amazons.
Steven Pressfield has gained a passionate worldwide following for his magnificent novels of ancient Greece, Gates of Fire and Tides of War. In Last of the Amazons, Pressfield has surpassed himself, re-creating a vanished world in a brilliant novel that will delight his loyal readers and bring legions more to his singular and powerful restoration of the past.
In the time before Homer, the legendary Theseus, King of Athens (an actual historical figure), set sail on a journey that brought him into the land of tal Kyrte, the “free people,” a nation of proud female warriors whom the Greeks called “Amazons.” The Amazons, bound to each other as lovers as well as fighters, distrusted the Greeks, with their boastful talk of “civilization.” So when the great war queen Antiope fell in love with Theseus and fled with the Greeks, the mighty Amazon nation rose up in rage.
Last of the Amazons is not merely a masterful tale of war and revenge. Pressfield has created a cast of extraordinarily vivid characters, from the unforgettable Selene, whose surrender to the Greeks does nothing to tame her; to her lover, Damon, an Athenian warrior who grows to cherish the wild Amazon ways; to the narrator, Bones, a young girl from a noble family who was nursed by Selene from birth and secretly taught the Amazon way; to the great Theseus, the tragic king; and to Antiope, the noble queen who betrayed tal Kyrte for the love of Theseus.
With astounding immediacy and extraordinary attention to military detail, Pressfield transports readers into the heat and terror of war. Equally impressive is his creation of the Amazon nation, its people, its rituals and myths, its greatness and savagery. Last of the Amazons is thrilling on every page, an epic tale of the clash between wildness and civilization, patriotism and love, man and woman.
From the Hardcover edition.
again on the mainland. A party of twenty was detailed to guard the ships, while the main body, fifty or more under arms, commenced the tramp inland seeking the portal to the Underworld. This proved a desultory shuffle, as several among the crew who had personal acquaintance of the site had reported that “Fire River,” so daunting in its appellation, was nothing more than a subterranean sump void of supernatural substance, a tarry trickle stinking of sulphur and bitumen. The stench was so foul,
the prince recaptured his team and resumed his flight, now out of the lane entire. The yet-masked Borges fled down the earthway to the corrals where the horses for trade were penned. Into these excavations he lashed his team, with Antiope on his heels at the gallop, so that the onlookers in their myriads had to vacate their stations and scramble up and over the earthworks so as not to lose sight of the spectacle. Now could Antiope have pursued Borges into the pen and cut him down. Yet such an
finding rest in the life to come. To our party Chryssa presented the grisly sheaves. We withdrew, appalled. The women eyed us with incredulity. These fellows, they clearly concluded, are madder than we thought. We were picking up a feel for Amazon life. The males of the kabar, the smiths and mechanics, are granted by their mistresses all freedoms save two: they may not speak in counsel and may not ride. They are permitted mules and asses for their waggons but may not learn horsemanship. This is
on me, even then, that the elevation of my friend would redound spectacularly to my own prestige. I was drunk with the glory of our triumph. By our might of arms, tal Kyrte had requited the iniquity of our foes and, by bathing the bones of our children in the blood of those who had offered them outrage, had reconstituted their persons for the life beyond. Further, this slaughter, far from rendering the nation vulnerable to the reprisals of our enemies, though such may come, had—as Eleuthera
Antiope at the Runway, training alone, apart from the seven or eight score who also drilled on the site. She was running the stop-and-go exercises in which one races at full gallop toward a stake or post, to accustom her horse to shy from nothing. Mastery of this skill is fundamental; a girl trains her horse to it before she is six. That Antiope ran these drills now with Sneak Biscuits told she had still not regained her hippeia. But what struck one most was that the lane she had chosen was the