Sparta title header



Award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader creates novels full of rich and realistic characters, while providing readers a remarkable insight into archaic Spartan society.  Well-researched and intelligently interpolated from recorded facts, Schrader's Sparta is a refreshing change from the stereotypes encountered in much modern literature. 


Leonidas. The hero of Thermopylae. In 480 BC he defied an army half a million strong.  But who was he?

This is his story.  From his boyhood in the infamous Spartan agoge to the final stand of the 300 at Thermopylae, Schrader brings Leonidas and his wife, Gorgo, back to life.  This is Sparta!!!  As you’ve never seen it before.

The life of Leonidas and Gorgo is explored in a trilogy of biographical novels.

Leonidas of Sparta: A Boy of the Agoge
Fiction, published 2010

The younger of twins, Leonidas was lucky not to be killed at birth. As a boy, he must prove himself worthy of Spartan citizenship. Struggling to survive the harsh Spartan upbringing without disgrace, he never expects that one day he will be king or chosen to command the combined Greek forces fighting a Persian invasion.   But these were formative years that would one day make him the most famous Spartan of them all: the hero of Thermopylae. (Sparta 528-508 BC)
Leonidas book 1
Leonidas of Sparta: A Peerless Peer
Fiction, published 2011

The Agiad and Eurypontid kings are at each other's throats, the Peloponnesian League is in disarray, and the Greek cities of Ionia are calling on Sparta and Athens to aid them in their rebellion against their Persian masters.  But Leonidas is less interested in high politics than in putting his private life in order.   He needs to find reliable helots to restore his ruined estate, and – most important – to find the right woman to be his bride.   This is the story of both Leonidas and Gorgo in the years before Leonidas becomes king of Sparta and before the first Persian invasion of Greece. (Sparta 508-494 BC)
Leonidas book 2
Leonidas of Sparta: A Heroic King
Fiction, published 2012

The Persians are collecting the largest army ever seen.  The Delphic oracle proclaims King Demaratus of Sparta a usurper, and King Cleomenes is going mad.   More and more Spartans turn to Leonidas, Cleomenes' half brother and son-in-law, to take the helm of the ship of state in what are clearly going to be difficult times.   But Leonidas is the younger of twins, and his brother Cleombrotus has no intention of letting Leonidas lay claim to the Agiad throne without a fight.  While the brothers clash, the murder of two Persian ambassadors by an agitated Spartan Assembly sets in train the inevitable conflict between Sparta and Persia that will take Leonidas to Thermopylae – and into history. (Sparta 492-480 BC)
Leonidas - Book 2



Read individually, or in chronological order.

Are They Singing in Sparta?
Fiction, published 2006

Sparta is losing the war to retain control of Messenia, and in response to an oracle from Delphi, the Athenians send a lame schoolmaster to be Sparta's supreme commander.  But Tyrtaios soon discovers there is more to Sparta than Athenian propaganda led him to believe. Before long the lame Athenian and Sparta's most successful commander are moving Sparta in a new direction. Set in the Second Messenian War and based on Herodotus, this novel takes the reader back to the days immediately following the introduction of the Spartan Constitution and shows how this unique society evolved out of a period of chaos. (Sparta ca 650 BC)

Are they Singing in Sparta?
Spartan Slave, Spartan Queen: A Tale of Four Women of Sparta
Fiction, published 2007

Two women, the beautiful princess Niobe and her ugly slave Mika, are captured and sent to Sparta as spoils of war. While the beautiful Niobe becomes the concubine of a prince, Mika serves in the household of an ordinary Spartan woman. Yet beauty has its price, and soon the beautiful Niobe finds herself in trouble with Sparta’s queen, while Mika flourishes and falls in love.

This is the story of how two very different women respond to adversity, and in so doing it explores both the nature of beauty and its impact on human interaction – with a surprise ending. (Sparta ca 650 BC)  

This book is a sequel to Are They Singing in Sparta? with many of the same characters.

Spartan Slave, Spartan Queen

The Olympic Charioteer
Fiction, published 2005, Edited and re-released 2010

Two cities at war…
Two men with Olympic ambitions…
And one slave – the finest charioteer in Greece.

Set in archaic Sparta and based on incidents recorded in Herodotus, this is the tale of a young man's journey from tragedy to triumph – and the story of the founding of the first nonaggression pact in recorded history: the Peloponnesian League. (Sparta ca. 550 BC)

A free teacher supplement is also available for teacher's using this novel in their classes.


Olympic Charioteer


Under Sources you will find additional suggestions for both fiction and nonfiction books, including selected ancient and modern sources.
Contents of this web site are copyrighted. ©1993-2012 Helena P. Schrader.  To use the material
of this site, please contact Helena Schrader.   If you experience any problems with this site,
please contact the web mistress.

Last updated September, 2012
Site design and maintenance
Crystal Cloud Graphics    
Web Hosting