Rufus Thurston is the Sales Manager for Osprey Publishing, and is primarily responsible for making sure that as many of our lovely books as possible make it into bookshops around the UK. So your local Waterstones, that cool little independent book shop round the corner, the small shop at the back of a museum, even your  supermarket will have been approached by Rufus. He also keeps tabs on all of the people selling our books online - places like The Book Depository. Rufus is a man of many talents - he is the office crooner and has one of the biggest throws I have ever seen - all that cricket is obviously paying dividends. His addiction to cricket is proving problematic this month, staying up to watch the Ashes is obviously having an impact - as the photo above shows!

When I asked Rufus what his favourite Osprey book was he replied:


"It is Campaign 188 Thermopylae 480 BC. I\'ve chosen this book for the wealth of detail it gives about one of the most iconic and inspirational battles in history. A story not only of strategic ingenuity but of the most remarkable courage and determination, the stand taken at Thermopylae by a relative handful of Spartans against the vast Persian army has assumed the resonance of myth.

It is immediately clear why: the image of 300 (though of course this number does not apply to the battle as a whole but only its latter stages) fearless, savage and impeccably disciplined warriors using their limited resources to devastating effect, against an enemy limitlessly larger, imbues the historical event with all the qualities of a classic David and Goliath tale.

While the film 300 demonstrates this continuing mass-appeal and resonance, I particularly value the way in which the Osprey account gives the story back the weight of reality, detailing the troop movements, the military context and the clothing and training of the warriors themselves. It is a battle such as this that really breathes in the Campaign format: the detailed maps, the rigorous analysis, great Nic Fields writing and not least the classic Steve Noon artwork.

As much as I love Herodotus\' account in book VII of his Histories, I think the Osprey treatment gives us a unique and equally valuable insight into a truly incredible battle."