Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Ryan Madison, Hercules’ first six tasks: short stories teens to young adult. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013, 74 pp.
Action and adventure fiction
Young adults (Older teens)
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar Ilan Univrsity, email@example.com
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ryan Madison (Author)
From the book:
The author lives in Australia and he writes fiction for kids. His day job is a plumber. Among his books we find separate adventures of Hercules (Hercules and the Cretan Bull, the Hydra etc.) as well as Ghostly Tales from the Haunted Cottage, Unique Australian Animals etc.
Bio prepared by Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, email@example.com
In this installment we have a part of Hercules’ adventures mixed with other historical figures such as Alexander the great. There is no decisive chronological development for the narrative. Hercules receives different tasks from Zeus and on the way he meets all kind of people, such as the mysterious King Phillip, the king of his home-land; he also meets Helen and Alexander, and Oedipus’ family.
The book is dedicated to all those readers who are immersed in ancient Greek Mythology (p. 12). This is the first statement from the author that can build up curiosity regarding the narrative. Then follows a brief review of Hercules’ tasks, named “some History” in which the author numerates the 12 labors. The author finishes the review with a personal statement saying I believe that the entertainment value of the story is important; therefore I do not allow the truth to intrude too much and mess up the tale. (p. 26-8) . This comment serves as an explanation to the reader or clarification that the following narrative would stray from the more conventional mythological narrative on the labors.
The story begins in the middle of the fight with the Nemean lion. The author warned us he did not intend for the truth to mess up the fun, therefore Hercules is at the Trojan court and needs to go to Sparta to receive his second task. Geography, as well as the original myth are of little importance here, as the author mixes together different myths. The reason for Hercules’ tasks is: He walked among men, earthbound, but Hercules fought for his right to dwell upon Olympus with Zeus, his father, and above all Gods. It was a right he would have to earn, facing danger no man or God had encountered before or since. |(p.65-7).The author is aiming to write an entertaining story for children; he prefers the version of Hercules proving himself worthy for Olympus (and receiving his tasks from Zeus himself for that aim), than the more sordid atonement for his crime. There for this is the explanation behind his tasks which befits the light tone of the book.
The story is a wondrous mish mash. It is a very innovative manner of introducing the Hercules story, yet the jumping back and forth throughout the narrative could be confusing. For example, we meet Helen at Alexander’s castle at the beginning of the story and suddenly in the next chapter we read that Hercules saved her without knowing who she was. There is no indication that this part of the story preceded the first chapter. In another interesting and somewhat strange addition, Hercules encounters Oedipus’ family and falls in love with Antigone. The feeling the reader gets is a kind of a Shrek universe in which the tales (in this case, myths) are mixed together. This is a novice and certainly exceptional enterprise by the author, yet there is not enough clarity and clear progression of the narrative. Hercules jumps around encountering people and the addition of Oedipus’ family does not really add any substantial account Hercules’ narrative, since Hercules simply leaves Antigone after he saw her embracing another man. What could have been an interesting reception of two myths into one story is left unaccomplished and Hercules hurries back to another task. Furthermore, it is nice mixing the myths, but when real history is also thrown in to the mix in references to Alexander the Great the result could be a complete confusion between History and Myth. Mixing myths is a nice way to entertain children, but we would not want them to think that Alexander the Great was a fictional character.
In the end, the book offers a unique way to retell the ancient myths, yet lack of polish and a clear distinction between the different episodes hamper the effect.
The entry refers to the Kindle edition: Ryan Madison, Hercules’ first six tasks: short stories teens to young adult, (kindle edition), 74 pp. 2013.