The Gryphon's Skull

The Gryphon's Skull

Book - 2002
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In the tradition of Steven Pressfield and Mary Renault, a seafaring novel of the ancient GreeksThe vast tapestry of the Hellenic world unfolds in this stirring tale of two traders from the island of Rhodes, who range across the wind-blown face of the beautiful and treacherous Mediterranean in search of adventure and profits.In Over the Wine-dark Sea, H. N. Turteltaub transported his readers to the year 310 B.C. and the lives of Menedemos and Sostratos, two sea traders of Rhodes. From the smell of papyrus and ink to the thrumming of sail in the wind and the grunt of the oarsmen, the details of life in a now-vanished world come alive again in his new novel, The Gryphon's Skull, an epic of grand adventure and finely realized characters. Sostratos, long and rangy, intellectual and curious, chases knowledge as ardently as his cousin chases women; Menedemos, nearly as perfect a physical specimen as Alexander himself, is the headstrong man of the sea, his eyes unable to resist the veiled beauties around him . . . including his young stepmother, Baukis, whose voice and form he struggles to ignore.Having profitably returned on the Aphrodite to Rhodes, the two cousins find that war threatens their once free-trading world. Alexander the Great's successors are warring for control of the eastern Mediterranean. The ruthless one-eyed general Antigonos, who draws on the strength of all Anatolia, and his rival Ptolemaios, who controls the endless wealth of Egypt, are each ruthlessly maneuvering for advantage . . . and the neutrality of Rhodes, so essential to commerce, may be coming to an end. Yet though war and rumors of war surround them, Sostratos and Menedemos need to turn a profit. It seems theheight of folly to try one's luck so strenuously, but Sostratos has come into possession of what he is convinced is the skull of the mythical gryphon, the fabled beast with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion. They sail to Athens, intending to sell it to a school of philosophy. And the Egyptian emeralds they've obtained on the cheap promise to make them an even tidier profit. But between the Aphrodite and Athens lie two war fleets, innumerable pirates, and enough n0 danger and intrigue to satisfy even Homer. Unfortunately, it may be more than Sostratos and Menedemos can hope to survive.
Publisher: New York : Forge / Tom Doherty Associates, 2002.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780312872229
Branch Call Number: PS3570.U758 G79 2002
Characteristics: 384 pages : map ; 25 cm


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May 30, 2010

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May 30, 2010

Gryphon’s Skull is the second historical novel to deal with the merchant cousins Menedemos and Sostratos from fourth century Rhodes.

While Over the Wind-Dark Sea saw the cousins trying their luck with exotic cargo in distant Italia, Gryphon’s Skull is a tour of the Aegean as the clouds of war threaten to arise between Alexander the Great’s successors, Ptolemaios and Antigonos. Despite their best endeavors to avoid the war, the two traders find themselves drawn into it in ways they hope they can turn to their advantage.

On this particular journey, the argumentative duo obtains the skull of a strange looking bird that Sostratos believes is a gryphon, which proves the existence of the mythical beast. Menedemos dreams of receiving plenty of loot at an auction as he figures the philosophy schools will compete to buy the gryphon skull. As the relatives argue, fuss, and fight over the bird, they must also deal with the typical hazards of the open sea ranging from pirates to warring countries to spoiled aristocratic relatives, but mostly they contend with one another.


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