Epic can be defined accurately as heroic, majestic, and impressively great. Best selling author Steven Pressfield effectively lives up to this definition both in terms of the story he tells and how he chooses to tell it. Gates of Fire engulfs the reader in a story so mystifying it is hard to believe that it is based on true events. Thermopylae, a rock pass in Northern Greece is the setting. The characters are from opposing kingdoms. The feared and respected Spartan warriors, who are born into a life of unmatched courage, incredible physical prowess, and devastating battle skill, are defined as our heroes. The invading Persian army hails from a vast kingdom, which allows their army to draw of the cultures and skills of multiple cultures. The unbelievable variable is that the Spartans number only 300, while the invading Persians number in the millions. The story line revolves around the life of a young man, Xeones, who is a Greek that looks up to the legend of the Spartan warrior because he wishes that he had possessed their strengths in order to stop the tragedies that have rocked his short life. This inevitably leads our main character into the warrior lifestyle that is almost unbelievable in difficulty. The warrior lifestyle and training is constantly and skillfully defined and the way that Pressfield intertwines the reader into the lives of each of the main characters is where the story telling style gains its beautiful and epic status. Values instilled in the intense training that is typical of all Spartan warriors prevails in our main character’s personality and makes the reader relate to his life. The reader will quickly be in the corner of our hero main character and his warrior brethren. The book culminates in almost unarguably the greatest military stand in history, but the story and legend of these men and their choice of unquestionable self-sacrifice will live on as long as stories of valor and bravery do.