My father once told me, above all else…
Live and die for Sparta.
Honor. Loyalty. Duty. These were the things that mattered most.
And then Axios came into my life, teaching me other lessons: humility, brotherhood… love.
There were moments when the brutal training stripped me of my humanity, where it turned me into a mindless beast of flesh and muscle set to destroy everything in my way. But then Axios stood in my way, ever vigilant, never failing to bring me back to myself.
Love had no place in Sparta, they said. It made you weak.
So why did I feel stronger with him by my side?
*Eryx: A Spartan Tale is a 149k word historical gay fiction featuring a love story between Spartan warriors. Although told in an alternate point of view of the events in Axios, it includes extended scenes and more content. It can be read as a complete standalone.*
This is a sweeping epic spanning nearly 30 years, set in ancient Greece. I am not normally one for historicals, but I read Axios based on reviews by people I trust and loved it. This is the same story, but told from the perspective of Eryx. And although it is the same story, it is a wholly different story.
This book follows Axios and Eryx from the time they were young boys and first sent off to the Spartan version of boot camp until their last battle.
In the first book, we got the story from Axios’ perspective. He was a dreamer, a lover, never one for fighting and war. He did his duty to Sparta but he questioned it all of the time. He hated it.
Now we get to hear directly from Eryx. His mother died in childbirth, his father took his own life in shame for abandoning the army (really the poor man has serious PTSD). Eryx couldn’t wait to become a warrior. He knew he sole purpose in life was to fight for and possibly die for Sparta. And he looked forward to it.
Axios and Eryx really were like Yin and Yang. Two halves of a whole that balanced each other out. Whereas Eryx pushed Axios to be the warrior he needed to be, Axios taught Eryx that there were other things in life- friendship and love. Over the years they became inseparable, and filled out their circle with a few more boys they called their brothers.
As the book is very long and spans quite a long time, the first half is them growing and training. They begin discovering their feelings for each other when they reach their teenage years. It was so innocent and beautiful in the middle of this horrible training.
Once they reach the age to go to battle, they are still inseparable. Everyone knows that they are together and really no one discourages it. The battle scenes are brutal and horrific. This is not something for the weak hearted. Although you can skim over.
Get the tissues. A box of tissues. I convinced myself that I wouldn’t cry this time because I cried during Axios and I knew what would happen. HA! That was a big lie I told myself as I sobbed. More than once. Ok, a lot.
The entire love story is just beautiful. How they lived, trained, fought, was heart breaking. And as vicious as it was, in real life it was probably a lot worse.
If you read Axios, read this book. If you didn’t read Axios, read this then go back and read Axios. Or read Axios and then this. The order doesn’t matter and you don’t have to read both. But you’ll want to.
4.75 Pieces of Eye Candy