It might not seem this way, but I have always loved the myths and legends of the ancient Greeks. With that in mind, I jumped at the chance to review the upcoming Osprey Adventures book, Jason and the Argonauts.
Most of us are familiar with the tales of the mythical hero Jason and his brave crew, and their quest for the golden fleece mainly from the classic 1963 movie, featuring the ground breaking work of Ray Harryhausen, this book sets right the discrepencies in the film and puts them in line with the more scholarly original tales.
The author, Neil Smith has managed to keep a balance between these sometimes dry, long winded stories and presents us with a streamlined and easy to read narrative, keeping as true to the original legends. As anyone can tell you who has read various versions of the stories, the Greeks were known for their fondness of adding additional dramatic dialog and tended to sometimes spend a fair amount of time introducing themselves to one another, plus their extended bloodlines, plus their ancestors bold adventures and any other titles they had! Rest assured the author has avoided this ancient tendency and concentrated on the actual story in a way thats easy to read!
Additions of extra historical facts, references to the legend in the media all add weight to this very well put together book, which is what we have come to expect from Osprey over the years. I suppose that you are thinking I approve of this book, and I would agree with that entirely! I admit that this is one of the first Osprey books I have read for a long time, and if they are all as good as this one I will say that I will be reading a lot more over the coming months. This is just part of the Osprey adventures Myths and Legends series, along with Dragon Slayers and the Wars of Horus and Set, I foresee good things from this range!!
The artwork in this book is top notch, it really helps bring to life the text and imagine each segment with full colour. the artist Jose Daniel Cabrera Peña can’t be faulted, his works ranking among some of the best renderings of fine art on the subject I have seen in a long time. Together with photos from the various movie versions, these all add more to the feel of the book, if I had one criticism about them it would be that the book hasn’t got anymore! They really are great to look at, and inspiring to boot!
From a wargamers perspective, or a roleplayers one for that matter, there really is the meat for some great campaigns and scenarios based around the myth, I especially liked the information and pictures on the crew of the argo. It really makes me want to go out and get a load of historical ancient greek 15mm miniatures to go and replay scenes from the story (before you ask, yes I know which particular scene I’m thinking, and yes I know the earthborn aren’t skeletons, but I would have to do it with earthborn and skellies, otherwise it wouldn’t be cricket!!)
Ok, I’m going to sum this up. If you enjoy an easy to read, lavishly illustrated full colour book based around one of the most enduring ancient greek quest stories, then go get this book. There’s tons of useful information that would be suitable for any fan or curious casual reader. Buy it, read it and you’ll love it too. Check it out here Link
Right, now where did I put my other sandal…..