Princess of Thermopylae by JD SimmonsPrincess of Thermopylae by Belinda Harrison is the first book in the Thermopylae Bound series. It is a romance set in ancient Greece with mythological characters and elements.

A child is born to a couple on the run, relentlessly hunted by the woman’s disapproving family. The joyous occasion of Skylar’s birth is cut short by their imminent discovery and the mother is forced to make the ultimate sacrifice so that her husband and child might live.

Raised by her father Leandros, Skylar becomes a talented and lethal warrior. Never staying in one place for too long, the pair travel the lands working as mercenaries for those who need aid.

In a war-torn world, the King of Trachis must make difficult decisions to protect his kingdom. To dissuade potential invasion, his daughter Princess Alexis is wed to the eldest son of the threatening Molossian tribe’s leader, striking a strategic alliance between the realms.

When Skylar and Leandros encounter the Princess and her entourage under attack, they immediately intervene. They manage to save the princess but not her husband and Skylar is direly wounded during the rescue. Alexis tends to Skylar throughout her slow recovery and the flames of desire begin to slowly grow. But with the death of her husband, the alliance with Molossian tribe is no longer guaranteed. Alexis must make an impossible choice between marrying the more menacing younger brother of her husband to protect her people, or following her heart into Skylar’s powerful arms and risk war.

The Characters

Both main characters are strong women though in different ways. Skylar is a warrior with an unearthly talent for battle. She has been raised by her widowed father to be strong and decent (as mercenaries go at least). Alexis is powerful in her own right, though hers is more a strength of character than a physical prowess. She is noble and selfless, willing to sacrifice herself to save her people. Opposites in many ways, there are nevertheless some intense sparks that develop between the two women.

The Writing Style

The book has a great mélange of historical, fantasy and mythological elements. Set in ancient Greece, the world-building is interesting but not overly heavy. The story contains some intriguing kernels of mythological elements, but essentially it is more focused on the characters and their relationships. It effectively lays the groundwork for the mythology to take root in the next book in the series and the ending definitely leaves you curious to see what is coming next.

The Pros

The slow burn romance was done very well. Harrison draws you in to the captivating stirrings of desire and holds you rapt as the intensity slowly builds with each interaction between Alexis and Skylar. Every aroma, glance and touch shared between the two ignites a passion that becomes harder to resist and tantalizing to witness.

The Cons

This book does require a significant trigger warning. Readers should know that there are visceral recollections of battles with a lot of gore, as well as instances of physical abuse throughout the book. More importantly, readers should be aware that there is an instance of kidnapping, restraint and the sexual assault of a character. There is also graphic taunting of the survivor by the assaulter and the survivor’s reaction to what happened could be construed as unconventional by some.

The Conclusion

With intriguing characters, this book effectively sets the foundation for what looks to be an interesting mythological tale. The world is interesting, the characters are engaging, and I am curious to see where the story is going to go next.

Excerpt from Princess of Thermopylae by Belinda Harrison

“You should appear to her; it is time she knew who she was, who we are.”

“No. She requires more time to heal. She must build up her strength if she is to aid me in what I seek.”

“Can you not simply heal her fully and give her the strength she needs?”

“We do not wish to make the mortals more suspicious than they are. You know her wound was not one she should have survived; we can do no more for now.”


“I said no! I feel the strength in her bloodline. She belongs to us, there is no denying that, but I shall be another few moons until she is ready. You shall wait until I tell you it is time. Do not approach her before. Is that understood?”

“As you wish, Master.”

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Thermopylae Bound Series

Princess of Thermopylae

Chosen for Thermopylae

The Ker at Thermopylae

Bits and Bobs

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