The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield and Edward Blishen
|The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield and Edward Blishen|
|Reviewer: Loralei Haylock|
|Summary: A good choice for the fan of Greek Mythology looking to expand their knowledge, this beautifully illustrated book explores the origins of the Gods and Man, perfectly capturing the brutality and barbarism of the tales. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: January 2014|
|Publisher: Doubleday Childrens|
When a baby falls from the sky into the sea, Thetis, goddess of the sea, takes him into her care and names him Hephaestus. Raised lovingly by Thetis and her sister Eurynome, Hephaestus still grows to question who he is and where he came from. The sisters tell him he was born on Olympus, and so begins the twisting turning tales of the Titans and the Gods - their battles for supremacy, their betrayals, their vengeance.
Greek Mythology has been subject to many a retelling. From Graves' much lauded versions to Disney, time and time again storytellers have found joy in the ancient narratives and sought to bring them to fresh audiences.
The God Beneath the Sea, first published in 1970, strives to tell the most famous stories as an almost coherent and flowing narrative. It almost works, but with no one main protagonist to follow, the story naturally jumps around a bit. There's an almost chronological flow to it, with some space for flashback, but the discordance created by the changing viewpoints means the book doesn't quite feel like a coherent whole.
That said, it brings the brutality and barbarism of the stories to life in an unflinching way. From Zeus' infamous lust to Ares' passion for war, the Gods are as bold and unforgiving as they need to be, doling out cruelty and kindnesses in equal measure. The writing is spare, painting the characters and situations with the barest of brushstrokes, aided by some fantastically creepy ink drawings by Charles Keeping.
The narrative covers many of the famous myths, from Pandora's Box to Prometheus and the creation of man to Hades and Persephone, but the focus here is very much on the Gods, so fans of the more human heroes - Theseus and the Minotaur, The Twelve Labours of Heracles, Jason and the Argonauts and so on - may be disappointed. However, the earlier myths are no less gripping, with just as much bloodshed and betrayal.
The God Beneath the Sea is definitely a good choice for the fan of Greek Mythology looking to expand on their knowledge without having to turn to some of the rather more intimidating tomes. Highly recommended.
My thanks to the publishers for sending a copy.
For other fantastic retellings, check out Bookbag's Top Ten Retellings of Myths, Legends and Fairy Tales
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You can read more book reviews or buy The God Beneath the Sea by Leon Garfield and Edward Blishen at Amazon.com.
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