Buy Used
$0.01
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Like New | Details
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: Only slightly differentiated from a new book. Undamaged cover and spine. Pages may display light wear but no marks. Help save a tree. Buy all your used books from Green Earth Books. Read. Recycle and Reuse.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Gryphon's Skull (Hellenistic Seafaring Adventure) Mass Market Paperback – December 7, 2003


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback
"Please retry"
$46.00
Mass Market Paperback
"Please retry"
$3.75 $0.01

Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Sea-faring merchants Menedemos and Sostratos, the bickering cousins of Over the Wine-Dark Sea, Turteltaub's previous historical novel set in ancient Greece, are back again with an adventure taking them across the Aegean from the free city of Rhodes to glittering Athens. On their way to the city with a cargo of precious goods, they pick up the skull of an unusual bird. The scholarly Sostratos believes it is that of a gryphon, and thus proof of the existence of the mythical beast. The more down-to-earth Menedemos has little interest in the skull's scientific value, but hopes the philosophical schools in Athens will compete to purchase it. On the relatively short journey, they are plagued by pirates and the clashing forces of Egyptian Ptolemaios and Greek Antigonas, as well as the latter's troublesome nephew Polemaios. Despite these obstacles, Menedemos and Sostratos find plenty of time for haggling, with other merchants as well as with each other. Ladies' man Menedemos often courts trouble by ogling other men's wives, although he restrains himself for Baukis, the attractive young second wife of his father. Sostratos, although anxious to see the Athenian philosophers, has time for a delightful dalliance with the beautiful brothel mistress, Metrikhe. The author has spelled names as the Greeks did-Kyklades, Thoukydides, Skythians-and this adds to the fun. In the end, readers will count themselves satisfied with the journey.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Turteltaub (pseudonym of science fiction-fantasy writer Harry Turtledove) serves up more ancient Greek history in this sequel to Over the Wine-Dark Sea (2001). When cousins Menedemos and Sostratos embark from Rhodes in 308 B.C. on a trading expedition, they find the skull of a gryphon, a creature thought to be mythological, in the market in nearby Kaunos. What is simply an old bone to womanizer Menedemos is a treasure to scholar Sostratos, who wants to take it to philosophers in Athens for study. So the skull joins the wares of dye, perfume, ink, and papyrus on a journey involving potential danger, not only from pirates but also from the warring factions of Ptolemaios and Antigonos. This is factually-laden historical fiction, although history is sometimes dispensed awkwardly through dialog rather than through narrative; and while a table of weights, measures, and money is provided, a glossary is sorely missing. But there is appealing camaraderie between the cousins, and no lack of action; and plans for a future voyage, plus unresolved issues, pave the way for more to come. Michele Leber
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Hellenistic Seafaring Adventure (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1st edition (December 7, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076534503X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765345035
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,419,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John A Lee III on May 7, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I like Harry Turtledove's books (Turteltaub is a pen name), they are enjoyable to read. This one was as well but, unlike many of his novels, there does not seem to be much point to it. It is a simple narrative describing the exploits of a pair of cousins in the ancient Hellenic world. There is very little sense of excitement or accomplishment. Instead, it is a mildly pleasant meandering.

Mendemos and Sostratos are cousins who work together in the trade in luxury goods. They come from Rhodes and sail the Mediterranean hoping to make a profit. In the course of their journey, they have a few mild adventures and run into some interesting people. That's about all that does happen.

The title come from a fossil skull of a dinosaur procured by one the cousins. To both of them, it seems to suggest the mythical gryphon. The more philosophical of the two boys wants to take it to Athens to see what the scholars there make of it. The more adventurous one thinks that will be a waste of time (and investment capital) but agrees merely to keep peace within the family. The skull figures in the drives of the characters but has little other significance than to help demonstrate the differing outlooks each has.

Menedemos is the captain of the vessel and is the more hot headed of the two. His twin motivations are profit and the seduction of other men's wives. Sostratos is the more contemplative one who is a thinker. He serves as the supercargo and is no less interested in profit but to him, this includes profit of the mind as well.

The bothers wander around on their trading journey. Some things go better than hoped for, some go worse. Their exploits, however, do not seem to be the point.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
About three centuries BC, the merchants Menedemos and Sostratos sail the Aphrodite across the Aegean Sea from Rhodes to deliver cargo in Athens. Menedemos captains the vessel while his cousin Sostratos handles more of the scholarly side of the business. Of course the two bicker over everything with Sostratos being a back seat driver and Menedemos a pseudo intellect.
On this particular journey, the argumentative duo obtains the skull of a strange looking bird that Sostratos believes is a gryphon, which proves the existence of the mythical beast. Menedemos dreams of receiving plenty of loot at an auction as he figures the philosophy schools will compete to buy the gryphon skull. As the relatives argue, fuss, and fight over the bird, they must also deal with the typical hazards of the open sea ranging from pirates to warring countries to spoiled aristocratic relatives, but mostly they contend with one another.
THE GRYPHON'S SKULL is a delightful ancient historical novel that brings to life Greece through the eyes of a strong cast, especially the delightful lead characters. The story line is action-packed, filled with real tidbits and persona, but also contains much amusement especially when the cousins bicker, banter, and bother one another. Fans will relish this trek and want to read the combatant cousin's first novel, OVER THE WINE DARK SEA.
Harriet Klausner
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover
This book continues where Over the Wine-Dark Sea left off. Menedemos and Sostratos have returned from a highly successful voyage to Magna Graecia and Syracuse and are about top set off again. This time however they have a special cargo: a gryphon's skull (actually a dinosaur fossil) which Sostratos is determined to bring to the Academy in Athens. As with the last one the entire book is taken up with day to day concerns as they go from city to city selling their cargo. Unlike the last one they do a bit of hobnobbing with the rich and powerful. We get to see Ptolemy, king of Egypt, and Polemios, Antigonos' nephew. The two traders even get themselves majorly involved in a minor historical event. The pattern is of course repetitive, so perhaps these books are better read over a period of time so that they seem more fresh.

Something that I really enjoy about these books is their look at a little-explored period in history: the Hellenistic world just after the death of Alexander the Great. And Turtledove takes the opportunity to explore this world to the fullest. This time we get to see western Asia Minor and parts of eastern Greece. As with last time this is explained partly through direct experience and partly through the explanations of Sostratos and his knowledge of obscure factoids. This does occasionally sound preachy and veer into historo-talk, but it usually feels like exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to hear out of a wanna-be philosopher.

I do have to say though that at two books in I am finding myself less and less convinced that the Greeks stored their coins in their cheeks.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?