Authors’ Commentary on “Theos Khthonios”

Lawyers in Hell Authors’ Commentary on
»Theos Khthonios,«
 a story in Lawyers in Hell

On the morning of the third day at Thermopylae, as the Spartans were preparing for their deaths at the hands of the invading Persians, King Leonidas went among his men; according to Plutarch, he gave them one last command as they broke their fast: "Eat hearty, for tonight we dine in Hades."

The phrase itself is pure Laconian: short, punchy, and tinged with the sort of gallows humor Spartans enjoyed.  But it's the idea behind it that inspired my short tale:


Lawyers in Hell "Theos Khthonios".

  What if Leonidas and his beloved Three Hundred congregated on the banks of the Styx to break bread together; what would they think of Hades' realm, of war-wracked Tartaros -- where the food is tasteless and the sky is a gloomy shade of bronze?

Well, if the staple of the Spartan diet -- a black broth reputedly made from pig's blood and vinegar -- was as vile as Plutarch says, and their thirst for glorious death in combat was as keen, then the Tartaros of Lawyers in Hell would likely be hailed by the Spartans as Paradise.

Scott OdenMy involvement in the series came via the ever-excellent Bruce Durham, who put in a good word with Janet and Chris Morris.  Once we started discussing what part an historical fiction author might play in the shared fantasy world of Hell, it didn't take long to hit upon my choice of a protagonist. 

Or how he might fit into a volume called "Lawyers in Hell".  In Antiquity, it was customary to hold generals and war-leaders accountable for their actions on campaign.  In Athens, that accountability was done via the law courts.  But in Sparta, it was a matter for the ephors -- the five elected magistrates whose writ superseded even the city-state's dual kings.

What faults would they have found in Leonidas' defense of the pass at Thermopylae?  Being set in Hell, in that province of the underworld ruled, not by Satan, but by the Greek god of death, Hades, nothing is quite so straight-forward . . .
Theos Khthonios, © Scott Oden; Perseid Publishing, 2011
2011© Lawyers in Hell (Janet Morris), 2011, all rights reserved

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