Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Lee Smyth, Hercules: Gods Versus Titans: (The Warriors Series, book 3), Tiger Road Publishing, Colorado, 184 pp., 2018.
Children (Juvenile readers, 12 - 16)
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Author of the Entry:
Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee Smyth (Author)
Smyth is a writer who lives in the Rocky Mountains. He has written many books on various themes, many of them reimagining of other works, such as Frankenstein and Dracula.
Profile at amazon.com (accessed: February 26, 2019)
Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar-Ilan University, email@example.com
This is a reimagined tale of Greek mythology. The story follows the Greek Tydeus (Ty) and his grandfather, the blind poet Homer of Athens, as they accompany Hercules on his adventures. The story is narrated through their respective points of view, as a series of first person narrations. The trio meets when Hercules helps Homer during an earthquake in an unknown city. Then suddenly the (imaginary) king Naxos arrives. He blames Hercules for the devastation caused by the earthquake and proclaims that Hercules must serve him for six months. Hercules agrees to work for the king for six weeks, and he takes Ty and Homer with him as his witnesses, who will remain under his protection. The king is a tool of Hera, who is described as a scheming goddess. Hera hates Hercules since he was fathered by Zeus, whom she wishes to marry and then overrule. The story combines some of the labours of Hercules with other mythological stories, which are reimagined by the author. The labours include: the Nemean Lion, the Hydra, the Stymphalian birds and bringing Cerberus from the underworld. When Cerberus is presented to King Naxos, the dog quickly devours the king and then is returned to Hades. This puts an end to Naxos’ abuse. Two more characters accompany this trio, Deecee and Drewsee, who drive them and help them. Unfortunately Deecee is caught and killed in one of the missions, by a monster called Voracious which lives in a labyrinth on Delos, made by the ruler, Severus.
The other myths told throughout the story by Ty and Homer are that of Orion and his becoming a constellation, Prometheus and the stealing of fire, Pandora, and the abduction of Persephone.
After Hercules finishes his labours he is called upon by Zeus to assist him in the great Titanomachy. Ty and Homer witness the ferocious battles, which result in the death of Hercules and the gods.
This is a reimagined novel, in which the author uses the mythological (and historical) heroes and setting to create his own narrative. Hence he does not minutely follow the mythological narrative. For example, he introduces specific labours and creates a new objective behind them. He also invents his own version of Hercules’ death. Homer’s character is as a storyteller, which enables the author to include more stories apart from the main plot. The stories include Prometheus, Pandora and more. Yet these stories do not follow the ancient Greek myths in the formats found, for example, in Hesiod, but are also altered according to the author’s imagination.
For example, Pandora is presented as “a charming seductress, a temptress, and a masterful liar.” [p. 66]. Pandora is described as being given gifts by the gods, but not created by them as a punishment for humankind, as in the Hesiodic myth. In this version, we are told that she was given an egg-shaped box by a nymph named Mischief which contained ills. When Pandora opened it, she became an abomination, an ugly old woman, “a disease-ridden hag” [p. 68]. In the end, Hope remains by her side. This alteration of the Pandora myth does not mention whether the ills affected all of humanity or just Pandora. Her physical change is the manifestation of the evils which lurked inside the box. In the context of the overall plot, the story is told when Hercules is injured after fighting the Stymphalian birds and his friends hope for his recovery.
Another reimagined story is that of the Minotaur. Here he is replaced by a monster named Voracious who was given to the king of Delos by Poseidon. This creature also dwells within a labyrinth and he even kills one of the characters. This seems to be a reception of the Minotaur myth. Since the author does confess to his love of ancient myth, it might be reasonable to suppose that he aims to present alternate versions of the known myths to knowledgeable readers.
The role of Ty and Homer is a crucial one. While they cannot assist Hercules with the physical tasks, their duty is to witness and document the events, thus helping to glorify Hercules’ name and reputation. In the end, after the deadly battle, Homer tells Ty, “We'll make sure that his name lives forever.” [p. 181]. Ty has witnessed everything so he will speak the truth and write it down for generations to come. Hence with the personae of Ty and Homer the author stresses the importance of the authors, as the guardians of stories and the documenters of past stories and heroes. In a way, he could be referring to himself as well, as a storyteller. Ty, the child-witness and storyteller can is a character with which the young readers can identify and perhaps be encouraged to tell their own stories.