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EARTH GIANT by Edison Marshall



Pub Date: Aug. 12th, 1960
Publisher: Doubleday

There are some extremely non-scholarly liberties taken in this retelling of the story of the Greek hero Heracles (Romanized to Hercules). Raised by shepherds, his parentage undecided, he and his half-brother Right Doer, on reaching manhood, are sent as tribute, with a group of Theban youths and maidens, to the court of the tyrant Eurytus and, to rescue his companions from bondage, Heracles first kills the wrestler Antaeus and then undertakes his famous labors. Right Doer, the hunter Acteon, and Nessus (here not a centaur but one of the first Greeks to ride a horse) help him in the very modernized labors (the flesh-eating birds become mosquitoes, the boar a river, and the Hydra of Lernaea a gaseous swamp). Throughout are Heracles' involved intrigues with Eurytus' daughters, Megara and Iole, a priestess of Artemis, as well as lusty affairs with other Greek maidens. With Iole unmasked in her villainous efforts, Heracles escapes death at her hands, to live happily with Megara whom he has married. He also solves the mystery of his parentage which ends the legend-being-born that Zeus was his father -- it was Achilles. Mr. Marshall, undoubtedly enjoying his revisions of the fable, has -- in perhaps letting his mind wander too widely -- set up some obvious targets for scholars and knowledgeable critics.