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Jason and the Argonauts (Myths and Legends) Paperback – March 19, 2013

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Jason and the Argonauts (Myths and Legends) + Dragonslayers: From Beowulf to St. George (Myths and Legends) + The War of Horus and Set (Myths and Legends)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 and up
  • Series: Myths and Legends
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (March 19, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780967225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780967226
  • Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...outstanding visual, literary coverage that [does] more than retell a legned..."
- James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review (June 2013)

About the Author

Neil Smith is a freelance writer living in Virginia He earned his undergraduate degree in Classics and Medieval History from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1996, then moved to the United States where he studied for his Master's Degree in History at the University of Georgia. After working in student-advising for six years, Neil left to pursue his PhD in History. He achieved that goal in March 2011. Along the way, Neil has written business school case studies and has over 65 wargaming articles to his credit. The author lives in Virginia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Capossere TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Jason and the Argonauts, retold by Neil Smith and illustrated by José Daniel Cabrera Peña, is one of a sequence of books in a new series by Osprey Adventures entitled MYTHS AND LEGENDS. It's a pretty straightforward text, and serves as a solid introduction to the story beyond the highly abridged versions one gets in schoolbooks. One wishes, though, for a bit more verve in the storytelling itself.

The introduction is a very brief (one and a half pages) essay placing the story in historical context in terms of when it is assumed to be set, gives a little information on the two authors mostly credited for the versions of the story as we now think of it (Apollonius of Rhodes in the 3rd century B.C. and Gaius Valerius Flaccus in the 1st century A.D.) and on which this tale is mostly based. Finally, it mentions the tale's connection to other adventures, such as the Arthurian cycle and Tolkien's LORD OF THE RINGS. The rest of the text, about 70 pages or so, is the tale itself, enhanced by illustrations and brief sidebar excursions into areas of interest.

As mentioned, we get much more detail regarding Jason's adventures than usual, and my guess is that most readers will be pleasantly surprised by the number of adventures Jason and the Argonauts encounter, as well as how varied their exploits are, including navigating ocean dangers, fighting off harpies and giants, facing armies, and dealing also with the more mundane dangers of the world -- wild boars, poisonous snakes, and the like. Those who have seen either the famed Harryhausen movie version or the less-famed made-for-TV one might recognize more of the adventures, but as both movies truncated the story and took creative liberties, Jason's journey should still seem fresh.
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Format: Paperback
The renowned publisher Osprey embarked on a journey. Famous for their military history books, they now set sail for a new quest...with the same formats filled with art and written by respected authors, they now vie for the retelling of ancient myths and legends to an adult target group. Risky? Yes. Tough? Definitely. Paradigm changing? No doubt. Worthwhile? Definitively.

They hit the mark. Osprey already had a few books dedicated to areas that weren't entirely History or military history, but I believe this is their first series focusing on mythological and fantasy themes.

Neil Smith manages to take the Argonauts tale in a way I've never seen before. When you study mythology you may find academic volumes about them or narrative ones. Smith made a syncretism effort and managed to fuse both views. He retells the legend of Jason and the Argonauts using the most famous version, but he also provides background, boxes with information on certain aspects of history (like ships, weapons, etc.) or other versions of the legend.

This story is the archetypical quest tale. A group of heroes with distinct characteristics join together for a worthwhile purpose and for glory. This group includes Herakles, Castor, Polydeuces, Atalanta, Argus, Idmon, Ancaeus, the fathers of the main Trojan War heroes (like Telamon, father of Ajax; Pelaeus, father of Achilles or Laertes, father of Odysseus), among many others. They face monsters, storms and geographical terrors, and when they reach Colchis they find that their adventure is far from over.

Jason is quite different from other Greek heroes. Although powerful, in most versions of the tale he never defeats personally the obstacles (or he is heavily helped by others).
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cape Rust on May 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
The cover art alone drew me to this book, add the fact that the book is about one of the epic mythical stories of all time and there is no way this book can go wrong. In fact this book doesn't go wrong, it gets better and turns it up to 11. I included a description of Osprey Adventures so that you would have an idea of what their goals and how they are realizing them. Their innovative approach is validated in products like Myths and Legends 1: Jason and the Argonauts. When I first got my hands on a physical copy of this book I love that it looked like a trade paperback version of an RPG SPLAT book (Awesome!) but the length of the book made me wonder. At 80 pages total I wondered how as an adult this book would have enough information to keep me engaged. Flipping thru the book I was struck by how much this book reminded me of the books I would check out from my school library, plenty of pictures and long descriptions of those pictures, along with the regular text. This seemed like one of those amazing books that you could only get at your school library or at the coveted annual book fair. It was at this point that my heart said yes and my mind said no.

My initial flip through this book took be back to those cherished days of checking out books like this, but the juvenile memories that it invoked sent warning signs to my adult mind. I started thinking how could a book in this format, with this many pictures appeal to any adult who isn't into RPGS? Then I started reading Myths and Legends 1: Jason and the Argonauts. This is not a kids book! Wait is a book that kids could use for book reports or school projects, but that I think would be a very small part of the audience that this book will appeal to. This book is legit!
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