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.
Ant dragged me onto the far shore. I turned back and saw Selene, on the hellward bank, dragging Mandrocles’ spent form from the fire. She lifted him by the hair and hacked him off at the neck. The Amazon raised his dripping, flaming head impaled upon her axe and howled a cry of such savage joy as only could be loosed here, at the gates of perdition. Into the asshole tunnel we wormed, Ant first, then me, then Ironhead. Cries came from above, our comrades at the cavern’s mouth. One had snaked
it’s nothing to them, a chore of denutting. Recall this as they grapple your globes in passion. I’d sooner mate with a wildcat.” The men whooped and cheered. Many called out that they’d gladly take their chances, so long had this sea trek enforced celibacy upon them. Their mentor wagged a finger. “Not so fast, lads, for here’s more matter to turn over. When in shipboard reverie you conjure visions of these Moon Maids, each floats before you more comely than the next. Now fetch reality. For
Into this melee the daughters of tal Kyrte plunged, driven by outere and lyssa. Not content to offer slaughter at a remove, they dismounted and pressed upon the foe hand to hand, with axe and saber, spear and thrusting sword, fashioning a front that extended, helmet to helmet, shield to shield, across nearly half a mile. The whole thing looked like some colossal frieze of marble: the twined forms of horses, women, and men, pressed so proximately upon one another that the observer could not tell
only calamity. “Two hundred are coming for you!” Damon cried to Antiope in Greek, using the feminine to denote warrioresses of tal Kyrte. She knew. One saw she had no fear. She saluted Damon in gratitude and commanded him to get clear, before harm came to him. His eyes shot to mine in urgency. I heard Antiope behind me: “Go with him, child.” I should have known this was the moment. I must flee with my lover, now or never. But to abandon Antiope as I had done before, even now when she commanded
the Three Hundred Steps. The inner wall was called the Half Ring because it enclosed only the western waist of the Rock. No battlements protected the faces east and north. These were unscalable. The Rock itself was walled massively at the summit by those great stoneworks called “the Fortress.” Eleven towers studded this circuit, each sited to provide covering fire for the towers on its flanks. Embrasures for bowmen notched the circumference, with an additional forty-seven artillery ports, the