Heavenly intervention led to this…

Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures (Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology, #2)
by Stephen Fry (author and narrator)

Stephen Fry‘s second offering in his Greek Mythology series. We are looking at all of the Greek heroes, some more well-known than others. Lots of names and someone begetting someone else, etc. But as Stephen points out himself early on, don‘t get hung up on trying to memorize them all. I certainly didn‘t. Those that kept getting repeated eventually stuck.

Herakles (Hercules), Jason and Theseus are covered quite extensively and I knew their stories at least in broad strokes. I was foggier on the details of Perseus. But I had never heard of Bellerophon or Atalanta. Orpheus and Oedipus were nice refreshers. The ending dragged. I blame Theseus, he must have been quite a tosser.

Stephen‘s sometimes amusing narration made me think of Monty Python at times. Pity that they never picked up on the Greek heroes. Parts of this could have qualified.

This is quite long, so I listened to Stephen with longish breaks in between heroes. And yes, I recommend the audio, as half of the fun is listening to Fry‘s narration.

I will definitely proceed to the next book. I want to see what he makes of Troy! Should be entertaining.

The story of Troy speaks to all of us – the kidnapping of Helen, a queen celebrated for her beauty, sees the Greeks launch a thousand ships against the city of Troy, to which they will lay siege for 10 whole and very bloody years. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53443339-troy

Further reading for the only female hero in this book: I came across a retelling that looks interesting, Atalanta by Jennifer Saint.

From the beloved, bestselling author of Elektra and Ariadne, a reimagining of the myth of Atalanta, a fierce huntress raised by bears and the only woman in the world’s most famous band of heroes, the Argonauts

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61884838.Atalanta

Oh, and Ariadne makes an appearance as well in Fry‘s stories about Theseus….

Goodreads Choice Award — Nominee for Best Fantasy (2021)

Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up greeting the dawn from her beautiful dancing floor and listening to her nursemaid’s stories of gods and heroes. But beneath her golden palace echo the ever-present hoofbeats of her brother, the Minotaur, a monster who demands blood sacrifice.

When Theseus, the Prince of Athens, arrives to vanquish the beast, Ariadne sees in his green eyes not a threat but an escape. Defying the gods, betraying her family and country, and risking everything for love, Ariadne helps Theseus kill the Minotaur. But will Ariadne’s decision ensure her happy ending?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54860614-ariadne

And these three ladies will probably make an appearance in Fry‘s Troy as well:

Goodreads Choice Award — Nominee for Best Fantasy (2022)

The House of Atreus is cursed. A bloodline tainted by a generational cycle of violence and vengeance. This is the story of three women, their fates inextricably tied to this curse, and the fickle nature of men and gods. 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58725016-elektra

Next time I feel like reading about women in Ancient Greece / mythology, I should probably give this author a try, what do you think?

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5 thoughts on “Heavenly intervention led to this…

  1. I think I might have a look at both Heroes and Atalanta. I made a start on Stephen Fry’s Mythos but lost the will to live whilst listening through waves and waves of Gods and Goddesses in the first few chapters. I think I need to skip ahead to the story of Prometheus which is the beginning of part two in the book. I’m quite interested in that tale since it was kind of told in Circe (Madeline Miller) and her take on it was very interesting. (I LOVED Circe as a book. It’s my favourite read from last year.)

    Thank for a great review – your response to Theseus made me laugh out loud literally!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heroes is very similar to Mythos in style and structure. So if you struggle with Mythos, then this might go similarly. But definitely jump ahead to what interests you, you can always come back to the rest.

      Thanks for liking my review. If you read Heroes, I‘ll look for your impression of Theseus. The little arrogant twat… 😏

      Liked by 1 person

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