Heroes by Stephen Fry

Heroes is Fry's follow up to his book Mythos (2017) which dealt with the beginning of everything with the birth of the Titans and the Gods and the creation of mankind.

In an easy, accessible style, Fry relates the adventures of some of the best known heroes of Greek mythology, among them Perseus, Heracles (Hercules), Orpheus, Jason, Oedipus, Theseus and one woman, Atlanta.

He makes light work of the complexities involved in the adventures and the linkages between them. The book sets out the labours of Heracles - there were 12 not 10 - and the reason he was forced to undertake them.

The voyage of the Argo was undertaken by Jason and the Argonauts, among whom was Heracles - yes he was part of the crew - to bring back the golden fleece from far away Colchis to the Greek mainland, as desired by the goddess Athena. The long circuitous return journey of the Argo was a forerunner of the Odyssey. Theseus performed many acts of bravery before he slew the Minotaur on the island of Crete. The Minotaur was kept in a maze designed by Daedalus, whose son, Icarus, flew too close to the sun.

The many twists and turns in the stories and myriad links between the characters are clearly and lucidly set out. The heroes cleansed the world of the monsters that endangered mankind and made it a safe place to live in for humans. The tone of the book is easy and conversational, even chatty. It was first presented as a stage show (in Canada) along with Mythos and the Odyssey. Readers can easily get lost in more scholarly accounts of Greek mythology. Fry wears his learning lightly and provides an entry into these celebrated stories.

Submitted by Vidya