Hercules is the son of Jupiter (Zeus in Greek mythology) and the mortal Alcmene. He is the Roman equivalent of the Greek divine hero and is famous for his strength and adventures. People of all ages love this character because of the kindness and bravery of Hercules.
Books about Hercules can be fascinating and entertaining if you are interested in Greek mythology and epic tales of heroes and gods. These books can provide a glimpse into ancient Greek culture and mythology and offer insights into the values and beliefs of the people of that time. Additionally, his legendary feats can be an inspiring and uplifting experience.
10 Books About Hercules (Herakles Retellings)
There are many myths about Hercules, but the most famous one is his Twelve Labors. According to the myth, Hercules was tasked with completing twelve seemingly impossible tasks as a penance for killing his wife and children in a fit of madness.
The tasks included slaying the Nemean Lion, capturing the Erymanthian Boar, cleaning the Augean stables in a single day, and stealing the apples of the Hesperides. Hercules completed all twelve tasks, demonstrating his incredible strength, courage, and perseverance. The story of the Twelve Labors has been retold in countless works of literature, art, and film, and it remains one of the most enduring and popular myths in Western culture. I am going to talk about the top 10 books about Hercules retellings. Let’s start!
1. Go the Distance
Go the Distance is a twisted tale series. The Twisted Tale series is a series of books published by Disney, where the authors take the original story that we grew up loving but twist it to make an entirely new story. So this one is a Hercules retelling. The story follows Meg, who wants to become a Greek goddess with Hercules. But to do that, she gets told by Zeus that she needs to save her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend from the gates of hell.
You don’t know what will happen but are familiar with the world and its characters. This will be a strength for the author because there’s so much she can do. She doesn’t have to stick to the original story like in Frozen. The story involved many more gods than we have seen in Hercules in the movie. It is mostly following Hades and Zeus. As someone who loves Greek mythology, that is a nice touch.
The story is very fast-paced, and it is very engaging to read. You will love seeing the interactions between all of the characters. Meg is very strong-headed, so seeing her interact with other characters, it’s always interesting to read about her. You will also enjoy the series if you’re a fan of it.
Author: Jen Calonita
Average Rating: 4.8/5
Category: Fantasy Action & Adventure
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD
2. Stephen Fry’s Greek Mythology Book Series (Heroes, Mythos & Troy)
It’s Stephen Fry examining and explaining Greek mythology. Chronologically, Mythos comes first, but you can technically read Heroes without Mythos. However, reading that one first will fill in some of the blanks of the background information in Heroes, the tone of both books is very conversational. Stephen Fry is telling you the stories of the Greek myths with Hercules over a cup of tea and a bit of cake. Fry’s comments in the narrative, and he paraphrases the dialogue.
Both books extensively use footnotes to help explain context and background. Although footnotes themselves don’t become unwieldy, they’re not too long. There were only a few instances where the footnotes covered more than one page. They do help to flesh things out. There are also many exciting notes about how the names of the Greek gods reflect and influence the modern English language, showing how many words have their roots here.
There are many backward and forwards in bite-sized chunks, so there’s never any feeling of a cohesive narrative. It makes for a chaotic read. However, Heroes is told more in bigger chunks, with each hero having a story from start to finish before we move on to a different character.
If you watch the Tory movie, you don’t see divine intervention. You don’t see the gods coming in playing their little parts in what happened to Eliade and Hercules. Troy was formed and how it was formed, and who preamps were. Who exactly is Helen? You learn about how Paris was and who was meant to be gotten rid of.
If you’re someone who’s been wanting to get into mythology, it’s a great place to start. These three books are stories about hundreds of gods, demigods, and humans. Every story has its beautiful meaning and beautiful message ascribed to it.
Author: Stephen Fry
Average Rating: 4.5/5
Category: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology Literary Criticism, Ancient Greek History
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD
3. The 12 Labors of Hercules
The story of The 12 Labors of Hercules begins when Hercules goes to Apollo’s Oracle to be forgiven for killing his family. The Oracle told him to perform ten tasks for the king of Mycenae. The first task was to bring him the height of the Nemean lion. But that lion was invulnerable to weapons. So Hercules had to strangle it. The second task was to kill the Hydra. The Hydra had nine heads, eight mortal and one immoral. So with the help of his nephew, Hercules had to kill the eight mortal heads and hide the mortal one under a stone.
The third task was to bring back a magical deer. But in the process, Hercules angered Artemis (Goddess of hunting). The fourth task was to return the Erymanthian Boar, and Hercules did it successfully. The fifth task was to clean up King Augeas’ stables one day. Hercules knew it was impossible, so he’d dig a trench to use two nearby rivers.
You must read the book if you learn the following tasks in detail. You will find some moral lessons and Hercules’s capability to discover more. After his Labours, Hercules would continue his heroic journey and set up the Olympic Games. Although he had a great life full of adventure, he would ultimately suffer an agonizing death. I recommend this book because it’s exciting. It has a great story with different plots.
Author: Blake Hoena
Average Rating: 4.3/5
Category: Children’s Comics & Graphic Novels
Available: Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle
4. The Labors of Hercules by Agatha Christie
This book is a collection of short stories featuring the detective Hercule Poirot. He solves mysteries based on the tasks that Hercules performed in Greek mythology. Christie’s writing style is engaging and entertaining. However, this may not work if you want a more traditional retelling of the Hercules myth.
5. Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes by Edith Hamilton
This classic book provides an overview of Greek mythology, including the stories of Hercules and his labors. The writing is clear and concise, and the stories are presented in an accessible and engaging way. This is an excellent story for anyone interested in learning about Greek mythology.
6. Hercules, God of Strength by Paul Storrie and Steve Kurth
This graphic novel retells the story of Hercules, his labors, and his battles against mythical monsters. The illustrations are colorful, and the story is told in an action-packed and exciting way. This book is an excellent choice for anyone who enjoys comics.
7. Hercules: The Twelve Labors by James Riordan
This children’s book tells the story of Hercules and his twelve labors in a fun way. The writing is engaging, and the illustrations are whimsical. This is an excellent book for children who are interested in mythology.
8. Hercules: The Legendary Journeys by Robert Weisbrot
This book provides an in-depth look at the television series “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” which starred Kevin Sorbo as the hero. The book includes interviews with the cast and crew, behind-the-scenes photos, and an analysis of the show’s themes and mythology.
9. Hercules: A Tragic Play by Sophocles
This classic Greek tragedy tells the story of Hercules’ life and his tragic end. The writing is poetic and powerful, and the play’s timeless and universal themes. This is an excellent book for anyone interested in Greek literature or tragedy.
10. The Son of Zeus: The Life and Times of Hercules by Erik van Brouwer
This comprehensive biography of Hercules is based on both historical and mythological sources. The writing is engaging and informative, and the book provides a detailed look at Hercules’ life, including his birth, twelve labors, and eventual death.
Whether you are interested in mythology, character development, moral lessons, or simply seeking an entertaining read, these books offer a rich tapestry of stories and insights that captivate and engage readers of all ages.
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