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Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures

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Mortals and Monsters. Quests and Adventures . . . There are Heroes - and then there are Greek Heroes. Few mere mortals have ever embarked on such bold and heart-stirring adventures, overcome myriad monstrous perils, or outwitted scheming vengeful gods, quite as stylishly and triumphantly as Greek heroes. In this companion to his bestselling Mythos, Stephen Fry brilliantly re Mortals and Monsters. Quests and Adventures . . . There are Heroes - and then there are Greek Heroes. Few mere mortals have ever embarked on such bold and heart-stirring adventures, overcome myriad monstrous perils, or outwitted scheming vengeful gods, quite as stylishly and triumphantly as Greek heroes. In this companion to his bestselling Mythos, Stephen Fry brilliantly retells these dramatic, funny, tragic and timeless tales. Join Jason aboard the Argo as he quests for the Golden Fleece. See Atalanta - who was raised by bears - outrun any man before being tricked with golden apples. Witness wily Oedipus solve the riddle of the Sphinx and discover how Bellerophon captures the winged horse Pegasus to help him slay the monster Chimera. Filled with white-knuckle chases and battles, impossible puzzles and riddles, acts of base cowardice and real bravery, not to mention murders and selfless sacrifices, Heroes is the story of what we mortals are truly capable of - at our worst and our very best. ___________ 'Ebullient and funny' The Times 'Entertaining and edifying' Daily Telegraph 'A rollicking good read' Independent 'Fry exhibits enormous erudition and enthusiasm' Mail on Sunday 'The Greek gods of the past become relatable as pop culture, modern literature and music are woven throughout. Joyfully informal yet full of the literary legacy' Guardian


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Mortals and Monsters. Quests and Adventures . . . There are Heroes - and then there are Greek Heroes. Few mere mortals have ever embarked on such bold and heart-stirring adventures, overcome myriad monstrous perils, or outwitted scheming vengeful gods, quite as stylishly and triumphantly as Greek heroes. In this companion to his bestselling Mythos, Stephen Fry brilliantly re Mortals and Monsters. Quests and Adventures . . . There are Heroes - and then there are Greek Heroes. Few mere mortals have ever embarked on such bold and heart-stirring adventures, overcome myriad monstrous perils, or outwitted scheming vengeful gods, quite as stylishly and triumphantly as Greek heroes. In this companion to his bestselling Mythos, Stephen Fry brilliantly retells these dramatic, funny, tragic and timeless tales. Join Jason aboard the Argo as he quests for the Golden Fleece. See Atalanta - who was raised by bears - outrun any man before being tricked with golden apples. Witness wily Oedipus solve the riddle of the Sphinx and discover how Bellerophon captures the winged horse Pegasus to help him slay the monster Chimera. Filled with white-knuckle chases and battles, impossible puzzles and riddles, acts of base cowardice and real bravery, not to mention murders and selfless sacrifices, Heroes is the story of what we mortals are truly capable of - at our worst and our very best. ___________ 'Ebullient and funny' The Times 'Entertaining and edifying' Daily Telegraph 'A rollicking good read' Independent 'Fry exhibits enormous erudition and enthusiasm' Mail on Sunday 'The Greek gods of the past become relatable as pop culture, modern literature and music are woven throughout. Joyfully informal yet full of the literary legacy' Guardian

30 review for Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    My second Stephen Fry mythology book in as many days (I just read Mythos and loved that) and once again it gets 5*s leading me to think maybe I should try some of Fry's other books out. I don't want to say too much more about this other than that it continues where the first book Mythos leaves off and we move from looking at the Gods themselves to looking at the Heroes and Demi-gods and offspring of Gods who are still remembered today. Stories such as the minataur, Hercules and more. These are a My second Stephen Fry mythology book in as many days (I just read Mythos and loved that) and once again it gets 5*s leading me to think maybe I should try some of Fry's other books out. I don't want to say too much more about this other than that it continues where the first book Mythos leaves off and we move from looking at the Gods themselves to looking at the Heroes and Demi-gods and offspring of Gods who are still remembered today. Stories such as the minataur, Hercules and more. These are all tales you may think you know, but the way Fry tells them is succinct and funny and I highly recommend his audio narration too. A brilliant little non-fiction (with a whole lot of myth and legend thrown in) and I gave it 5*s.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Simon

    Ancient Myths from a Modern Legend! This is an audiobook that I simply can't recommend enough. One of British entertainment's legends in Stephen Fry dusts off these ancient tales and breathes a contemporary form of life and colour into them in his own unique style. It's a mixture of description, a little conjecture and of course the lion's share being taken by these grand old tales themselves. They take front and center stage and while Fry cleverly interweaves background and information it never Ancient Myths from a Modern Legend! This is an audiobook that I simply can't recommend enough. One of British entertainment's legends in Stephen Fry dusts off these ancient tales and breathes a contemporary form of life and colour into them in his own unique style. It's a mixture of description, a little conjecture and of course the lion's share being taken by these grand old tales themselves. They take front and center stage and while Fry cleverly interweaves background and information it never feels like anything other than being told an engaging story. Of course being Stephen we also get charming nuggets of etymology thrown into the mix as well. Using a fairly informal, almost irreverent approach, for example he pronounces the names of people and places as comes most easily to him, Fry brings these stories to life like few others ever could. The Gods, heroes and of course villains are given an often-missed humanity and character that is both charming and humorous. In fairness, although clearly a lot of personal research went into these re-tellings it's neither a comprehensive collection, more of a Greatest Hits if you will, nor is it a hugely scholarly work. However, if like me you mainly have a passing knowledge of the Greek Myths or you want to dip your toe into them for the first time this is a fabulous place to start. My favourite has always been Jason and his Argonauts ever since watching Don Chaffey's 1963 film as a boy. Even with this one though, the one that I'm most familiar with I learned more about the back story and how the plot developed and has been toyed with than I ever have before. Then, right at the end Stephen describes "Mythos" as a trilogy which I wasn't aware of so hopefully to match his shows there will be one more of these which will cover the Trojan war and its aftermath. I can't wait! So, if you want to spend some time listening to a modern legend breathing life into ancient myths, this is very much the right series!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Netta

    To make a long story of cheap soap opera-esque characters who happen to be ancient heroes and gods in Fry's world short, this is an unforgivably mediocre piece of prose.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    The second in Stephen Fry's Greek Myths series, following on from the first installment of Mythos. Like Mythos, avery fun and enjoyable read. Although it is part of a series it can be read and taken as a stand alone book in my opinion. If anything I enjoyed this a bit more than Mythos. As the title suggests it is a book that focuses on the Heroes of the Greek Myths. Following the likes of Herakles (Hercules), Jason, Theseus, Orpheus and Perseus to name a few. The stories are brought to life and The second in Stephen Fry's Greek Myths series, following on from the first installment of Mythos. Like Mythos, avery fun and enjoyable read. Although it is part of a series it can be read and taken as a stand alone book in my opinion. If anything I enjoyed this a bit more than Mythos. As the title suggests it is a book that focuses on the Heroes of the Greek Myths. Following the likes of Herakles (Hercules), Jason, Theseus, Orpheus and Perseus to name a few. The stories are brought to life and often I found myself chuckling along with the narrative and phrasing of the stories. I read it as part e book and audiobook, both are top notch but Stephen really brings the characters to life through the audio book. Especially with a Perseus who sounds like he's just had a pint at the Woolpack or Rovers Return . I am excitedly looking forward to the third and final installment which will surely be covering the Trojan Wars, can't wait to read Stephen's take on the Iliad and Odyssey. I am sure it will be at least an equal to the first two books.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sam Obigbesan

    You can probably guess my joy when I found out that there was going to be another book in the mythos “Series” by Steven Fry with the focus shifting from the temperamental and all to often human gods of the Greek pantheon; to the heroes, quests and monster slayings happening all around mythical Greece and the then known world. I enjoyed every minute of it, the different stories and the sense of an overarching plot the author created. The various heroes had motivations that lead them to do what th You can probably guess my joy when I found out that there was going to be another book in the mythos “Series” by Steven Fry with the focus shifting from the temperamental and all to often human gods of the Greek pantheon; to the heroes, quests and monster slayings happening all around mythical Greece and the then known world. I enjoyed every minute of it, the different stories and the sense of an overarching plot the author created. The various heroes had motivations that lead them to do what they did and get into the kind of trouble the oracles would warn you away from. The heroes were flawed and ultimately failed or triumphed despite the insurmountable odds and their own faults. From Heracles, to Perseus, Atalanta to Medea, each of these at times tragic figures had their own place in the grand scheme of things; as well as served to advance the overarching narrative, possibly culminating with the Trojan war and its aftermath. In a possible 3rd book? One can only hope. As a Greek mythology geek, I very much appreciated the effort put into drawing all the not so relevant and confusing threads and stories to weave into a cohesive hole. It must have been a job and a half. Steven Fry’s narration of the various stories was as always versatile, entertaining and fully immersive. I don’t think I’ll forget Heracles’ northern accent, or Stheneboea’s husky voiced charm in a hurry. This was a 4.5 stars for me. Highly recommended. If you liked Mythos, I think you might like Heroes⋅

  6. 5 out of 5

    Roy

    Great retelling of these Greek heroes. Fry provides his unique wit with a perfect sense of knowledge. I kind of wished I'd listened to the audiobook version as I believe that may have also been just as enjoyable.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Walter VDE

    After I read Mythos, I wanted the author to write about the heroes and demi-gods. With this book mr Fry delivered, again. Rumor has it that Mr Fry will tackle the Iliad next. I can't wait :-)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Stephen's retelling of the myths of Greece's heroes is a delight. An absolute must for anyone interested in Greek mythology.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nyamka Ganni

    Can't wait! 🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩 Both print and audiobook version is to be released on November 1. Mr Stephen Fry reading Heroes! (Live reading excerpt) https://youtu.be/zh2jHkmWBrQ He's a wizard!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Really really enjoyed this Fry brings the myths and heroes to life in new and interesting ways, their stories told with humor Many of the heroes stories I didn't know so it was fun to get insight, while also not being completely bogged down with to many names and faces

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laurence

    As I finish Heroes, Stephen Fry mentions a third part in his Greek Myths series about the Trojan War and its aftermath. Looking forward to it. Have been looking for a good modern retelling of the Greek Myths (just as I was for the Norse Mythology, thanks Neil Gaiman) for some time, and these firsts two books have certainly scratched that itch. So many stories that I knew pieces of or only the names of which are much clearer now. Next I'd like a modern retelling of the Egyptian myths in the same As I finish Heroes, Stephen Fry mentions a third part in his Greek Myths series about the Trojan War and its aftermath. Looking forward to it. Have been looking for a good modern retelling of the Greek Myths (just as I was for the Norse Mythology, thanks Neil Gaiman) for some time, and these firsts two books have certainly scratched that itch. So many stories that I knew pieces of or only the names of which are much clearer now. Next I'd like a modern retelling of the Egyptian myths in the same style. Only complaint is that Perseus is portrayed as a bit of a dunce, prefer the 1980s Clash of the Titans movie characterisation.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Koit

    Most of us probably have some idea of various Greek gods and also their heroes -- after all, who has not heard of Herakles or Odysseus? There are other names which could be thrown into this mix, but the point I am trying to make is that Greek mythology has permeated much of Western culture and civilisation to a very great degree. Therefore, it could be said that one should be a bit careful about which author's take on these myths they should read -- having experienced 'Mythos' some time ago, I w Most of us probably have some idea of various Greek gods and also their heroes -- after all, who has not heard of Herakles or Odysseus? There are other names which could be thrown into this mix, but the point I am trying to make is that Greek mythology has permeated much of Western culture and civilisation to a very great degree. Therefore, it could be said that one should be a bit careful about which author's take on these myths they should read -- having experienced 'Mythos' some time ago, I was keen to take up 'Heroes' as soon as I could -- and I was not disappointed.  It should probably not come as a surprise to anyone but there will be distinct decisions Mr Fry has taken in this book regarding the myths which will no be to everyone's liking. The old myths themselves were not portraying a world of teddy bears and endless joy, but rather in most cases human arrogance and people's typical wish to escape their fate. The intrepid reader can guess how often this will succeed...  After this warning, I will also note that Mr Fry has not held back in the gory or explicit detail (at least compared to a children's rendition of the very same stories) -- nor in the caustic humour which at least some of the characters are gifted with (a passage where Oedipus manages to not understand what exactly a "sphinx" is probably my favourite). Another touch I thoroughly enjoyed was giving the (typically villainous) kings of the various polis a Scottish twang in the audiobook version.  If you feel out of touch with the ancient myths, this would definitely be a very accessible method to refamiliarise that old acquaintance...  This review was originally posted on my blog.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Olaf Verboon

    Another fun read. Although a bit more story-like than mythos, which is understandable given the subject. Still Fry succeeds to give the heroes a realistic characterization, which makes feel every hero unique and human (or semi ofcourse). Combined with Fry's British humor this is in my opinion one of the more accessible and fun read on the Greek myths, can't wait for his take on the Trojan war.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I thoroughly enjoyed "Heroes" by Stephen Fry as an audiobook. It was delightful to be taken on a journey of narrative with Greek mythology's heroes and have them brought to life. I loved how they were embellished and presented as stories - rather than representations of historical data or fact. "Mythos" is still my favourite but this book is worth the adventure!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah - There is nothing that upsets me more than a bad book!

    4.5 stars. Since it covered neither the Odyssey not the Troyan War there will be another book in the future I assume - yippee!!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    teres

    stephen fry pls

  17. 4 out of 5

    Martin Smith

    Really good and enjoyable recounting of the Greek myths, but for all the Gods’ sake, invest in a better proof reader. :)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason Wilson

    Via Audible Like it’s predecessor Mythos, this book does a good job of arranging the various strands of myth in chronological context. Mostly Fry’s style works well though there are irritations ( I didn’t need Perseus saying blimey) and unnecessary expletives and crudities. But Fry has matured at doing this; there’s a tense Jason and the Argonauts ( with the unsavoury aftermath of Medea) and a strong telling of the harrowing Oedipus story; the latter making it irritating that the subsequent stor Via Audible Like it’s predecessor Mythos, this book does a good job of arranging the various strands of myth in chronological context. Mostly Fry’s style works well though there are irritations ( I didn’t need Perseus saying blimey) and unnecessary expletives and crudities. But Fry has matured at doing this; there’s a tense Jason and the Argonauts ( with the unsavoury aftermath of Medea) and a strong telling of the harrowing Oedipus story; the latter making it irritating that the subsequent story of Antigone is reduced to a mere appendix. Other stories are also done well and the literary and historical asides welcome. Fry wisely doesn’t repeat the claims of Impartiality that he made in Mythos as he’s clearly not. Bar an early mission statement about heroes displacing gods and the fuzziness of afterlife his atheism is reigned in a bit more, which is welcome. Not that he isn’t entitled to his views but I want to know about the thought world of Ancient Greece , not now. We don’t get the Trojan war, Odysseus ‘ wandering or the Oresteia back story ; maybe they are covered enough or maybe the might form a welcome third volume.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Neil Pearson

    As I'd hoped, this volume explains the omission of the best known greek myths featuring the likes of Hercules/heracles, Jason, Perseus and Theseus. And Fry covers them in depth with the same wit, charm and authority as observed in "mythos". It's laugh-out-loud funny in several places yet doesn't shy away from the fact that classical heroism is a different beast from today's and in many ways the classical heroes are far more real than the impossible ideal we have for heroes today. I learned that As I'd hoped, this volume explains the omission of the best known greek myths featuring the likes of Hercules/heracles, Jason, Perseus and Theseus. And Fry covers them in depth with the same wit, charm and authority as observed in "mythos". It's laugh-out-loud funny in several places yet doesn't shy away from the fact that classical heroism is a different beast from today's and in many ways the classical heroes are far more real than the impossible ideal we have for heroes today. I learned that Oedipus is the least deserving of having a complex named after him and that oracles have an odd sense of humour while gods can be downright petty (Hera's torture of Heracles is horrible). Once again there's the added benefit that Fry does not water down the stories for a younger audience meaning that if you are only familiar of these myths via school there's a lot left to uncover. I can't wait for the final volume which will cover the Trojan war and the odyssey.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    As good as Mythos, if not better, this is a complete delight from start to finish. Ok, it may not be better than Mythos... shall I say, instead, better known? The first book covers stories much less known as it sheds light on the creation of the Earth, Titans, the Gods and countless others. Heroes, covers...well...the heroes of the age, many human, and their feats. We have Heracles, Jason, Theseus to name a few. I listened to the audio which is narrated by the incomparable Stephen Fry. Thoroughl As good as Mythos, if not better, this is a complete delight from start to finish. Ok, it may not be better than Mythos... shall I say, instead, better known? The first book covers stories much less known as it sheds light on the creation of the Earth, Titans, the Gods and countless others. Heroes, covers...well...the heroes of the age, many human, and their feats. We have Heracles, Jason, Theseus to name a few. I listened to the audio which is narrated by the incomparable Stephen Fry. Thoroughly enjoyable! The best way to be enveloped by this book. Such a great introduction to classic Greek mythology for children and a refresher for those of us who know, and love, these glorious tales.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Got to see Stephen Fry launch this book at the Eventim Apollo on 11 November and he was superb and wonderful. So, 5 stars. Also, it's a very good book, and an entertaining introduction to Greek mythology for those of us who only know the very key highlights (like, I'd heard of Medusa and the Minotaur, and read a book about the Argonauts, and that was pretty much it). I couldn't get into Mythos since it seemed too much "this god beget this god beget this god", but I might go back and give it anot Got to see Stephen Fry launch this book at the Eventim Apollo on 11 November and he was superb and wonderful. So, 5 stars. Also, it's a very good book, and an entertaining introduction to Greek mythology for those of us who only know the very key highlights (like, I'd heard of Medusa and the Minotaur, and read a book about the Argonauts, and that was pretty much it). I couldn't get into Mythos since it seemed too much "this god beget this god beget this god", but I might go back and give it another try.

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

    This is a follow up of Fry's Mythos book concentrating on the heroes. Personally the flood of content and information in this book I found easier to engage with probably due to knowing about the subjects in passing. The details are fleshed out and the stories are completed with humour and intelligent writing. There's a lot that goes over my head but that's to be expected. Hopefully this book will equip me with the knowledge to get a question correct on University Challenge as is my quest akin to This is a follow up of Fry's Mythos book concentrating on the heroes. Personally the flood of content and information in this book I found easier to engage with probably due to knowing about the subjects in passing. The details are fleshed out and the stories are completed with humour and intelligent writing. There's a lot that goes over my head but that's to be expected. Hopefully this book will equip me with the knowledge to get a question correct on University Challenge as is my quest akin to that of Herecles.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Richard Southworth

    I enjoyed this book just as much as the first installment, Mythos, as it is written in much the same style. This one covers most of the great stories that I was disappointed to find missing from Mythos: those of Heracles, Perseus, Theseus, etc - all re-told wonderfully and enriched with some extra details by the author. It is hinted that a third installment, covering the Trojan War and the Odyssey, is coming - I look forward to it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Keith CARTER

    Once again Mr. Fry has come up trumps, this book is just as hard to put down as Mythos #1. We go from looking at the Gods themselves to examining the demi-gods and heroes of classical Greece. This is bloodcurdlingly brilliant, we look at Jason and the golden fleece, we tremor at the 12 labours of Heracles and shiver at the troubles of Oedipus. This book is crying out to be read, and one thing more I would like to tell Mr. Fry, give us MORE PLEASE! Brilliant.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kieran McAndrew

    The mortal heroes of the Ancient Greeks are just as important as their gods. Given demigod status, the heroes depicted here are as flawed and fallible as the Greeks themselves. Fry's writing is witty and lively, but it is his sense of literary style that brings these stories alive for new generations.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Lawton

    Heroes is more than just a retelling of Greek myths. Ultimately, it tells stories of what we mortals are truly capable of – at our worst and at our very best. Stephen Fry’s retelling of the myths of Greece’s heroes is such a delight.An absolute must-read for anyone interested in Greek mythology, and I also feel these books will greatly appeal to fans of fantasy fiction. If you enjoyed Mythos, you will love Heroes. If you haven’t even read Mythos, you’ll still love it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carl Hamilton

    An instant classic, from a modern perspective. Reads like a well written fiction book with factual commentary. I don't know what else to say than, if you like Greek mythology, want to like Greek mythology, or just have a strand of good taste, you have to read this book. I highly recommend the audio-book as well, which is read by Stephen Fry himself, and is a pleasure to listen to anywhere.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    No one could've narrated this book better than Stephen Fry. It's delightful, witty and hella informative from the very first page to the last, giving the ancient heroes believable personalities and charm. I can't wait for the third instalment!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Laurel

    I love Greek mythology - and I have read 99.9% of the stories...but with Stephen Fry remixing the myths up with his writers wit - amazing! Loved every minute of revisiting my favorite pantheon of gods/goddesses/heroes...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gareth Otton

    This book is every bit as incredible as the last. Once again Stephen Fry has brought these stories into the 21st Century by fleshing out the characters, crafting a well thought out narrative, and really bringing these stories to life. Another 5-star outing for this series.

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