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ODYSSEUS IN THE SERPENT MAZE by Jane Yolen

ODYSSEUS IN THE SERPENT MAZE

By Jane Yolen (Author) , Robert J. Harris (Author)

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: March 31st, 2001
ISBN: 0-06-028734-9
Publisher: HarperCollins

Yolen and Harris (Queen’s Own Fool, p. 726) open a promising series dubbed “Young Heroes” with this tale of the teenaged Odysseus encountering storms, pirates, creatures both natural and supernatural—and a wise, practical young woman to take some of the air out of his inflated ego. Traveling back to Ithaca after visiting his robber-baron grandfather Autolychus, Odysseus and his sidekick Mentor are swept off their ship during a storm and picked up by pirates who are holding vacuous, spoiled Princess Helen and her levelheaded cousin, Penelope, prisoner. After an ensuing series of escapes and adventures, they wind up in Crete, fighting Ladon, a giant, many-headed serpent, in the famous Labyrinth. The authors draw names, creatures, and even phrases from Classical mythology, endow their protagonist with adolescent versions of the quick wits, glib tongue, and thirst for adventure that Homer gave him, and allow the other young characters fair shares of courage and resourcefulness too. Combining ancient lore with modern sounding dialogue—“ ‘We need to get the boar’s attention,’ Odysseus said. ‘No, we don’t.’ . . . ‘Really—there’s nothing to worry about, Mentor.’ ‘I hate it when you say that.’”—this will go down as smoothly as a “Young Hercules” novelization, while giving readers a taste of what awaits them in The Odyssey. (Fiction. 10-13)