"On a cold night, at the outskirts of a peasant village, two Spartan youths wait to perform an ancient rite of passage. A family--father, mother, and their son--approaches, unarmed and defenseless. The young men step into the moonlight and claim their manhood by killing the adults. The boy escapes. The Spartans have no idea how terrible an enemy they have called forth. Nothing could have prepared them for the boy, Protos, whose name means "destined," whose cunning and inborn skill with weapons renders his enemies almost defenseless, and whose heart knows no pity. The Spartans have oppressed his people for centuries, and to break their power is to free all those they hold in subjection. As Protos grows to manhood, he begins to understand that his private war against his parents' murderers is also a struggle for liberation"-- Provided by publisher.