Treason of Sparta (The Long War)

Written by Christian Cameron
Review by Aidan K. Morrissey

Treason of Sparta is the continuing story of Arimnestos of Plataea. This is listed as Book 7 and the final volume of The Long War series; however, the author states at the end of his epilogue that this is, in fact, Book 1 of the Broken Empire Series. As this is the continuing story of Arimnestos, it is difficult to understand why it is split into two separate series.

Taking place between 479 and 478 BCE, Treason of Sparta covers events in Athens, Ionia, Cyprus and Byzantium. It is, in essence, Arimnestos’ account of Spartan army leader and regent, Pausanias, after his great victory in the Battle of Plataea, to his fall from grace amid accusations of conspiring with the Persian Ruler, Xerxes. This is an extremely well-researched novel which, as the author himself says, ‘covers dangerous ground, trying to tell the story of fractured alliances and devious politics.’ In general, he does this reasonably well.

His writing style is for Arimnestos to tell the story, so everything takes place in the first person; difficult when many major events are happening away from the narrator. This makes for some cumbersome narrative. Expressions like ‘bear with me a moment’, ‘I mention this because…’ or ‘remember that…’ make the story at times repetitive and somewhat condescending to the reader. There is also a lot of info dumping, and speech does not flow naturally, with too many interruptions. The narrator feels more like a 21st-century student of Ancient Greece, rather than a hardened Spartan seafaring warrior. At one point the author, through his storyteller, says ‘Well, that was long-winded. Let’s just leave it here’ – which seems an appropriate point to end this review.