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A book or novel where the spirits of kings and heroes are enshrined in statues. When an enemy approaches, they don't come to life, but the spirits transform common men in heroic soldiers.

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How about “The Sword of Welleran” by Lord Dunsany?

The city of Merimna was defended by six heroes: Welleran, Soorenard, Mommolek, Rollory, Akanax, and young Iraine. When each died, his body was hidden in a canyon by his comrades, so that the city's enemies believed they still lived; and six lifelike statues were erected around the city. Eventually some incident breaks the enemies' belief that the statues are alive. In the emergency, a youth takes the sword of Welleran from its display-case ....

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