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25 Books About and Inspired by Greek Mythology

From tales of romance to epic battles, here are some great books inspired by ancient Greek mythology.

Books About and Inspired by Greek Mythology

There are so many great books out there about Greek mythology and even more that are inspired by it.  Here are just a few of my favorites – ones that I think will capture your attention whether you’re already familiar with the myths or not.  Plus, they make for some pretty good reading if you’re looking to escape into another world for a while.  So, from tales of romance to epic battles between good and evil, grab a copy and prepare to be enchanted!

5 Classic Books About and Inspired by Greek Mythology

The Odyssey by Homer 

The epic tale of Odysseus and his ten-year journey home after the Trojan War forms one of the earliest and greatest works of Western literature. Confronted by natural and supernatural threats – shipwrecks, battles, monsters and the implacable enmity of the sea-god Poseidon – Odysseus must use his wit and native cunning if he is to reach his homeland safely and overcome the obstacles that, even there, await him.

 

The Iliad by Homer

The Iliad is the first and the greatest literary achievement of Greek civilization–the cornerstone of Western culture and an epic poem without rival in world literature. The story centers on the critical events in the last year of the Trojan War, which lead to Achilleus’s killing of Hektor and the fall of Troy. But Homer’s theme is not simply war or heroism. With compassion and humanity, he presents a universal and tragic view of the world: human life lived under the shadow of suffering and death set against a vast and largely unpitying divine background.

 

Metamorphoses by Ovid 

In Metamophoses, Ovid brings together a dazzling array of mythological tales, ingeniously linked by the idea of transformation–often as a result of love or lust–where men and women find themselves magically changed into new and sometimes extraordinary beings. Beginning with the creation of the world and ending with the deification of Augustus, Ovid interweaves many of the best-known myths and legends of ancient Greece and Rome, including Daedalus and Icarus, Pyramus and Thisbe, Pygmalion, Perseus and Andromeda, and the fall of Troy.

 

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Edgar Parin d’Aulaire 

In print for over fifty years, D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths has introduced generations to Greek mythology—and continues to enthrall young readers. Here are the greats of ancient Greece—gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters—as freshly described in words and pictures as if they were alive today.

 

Ulysses by James Joyce

Set entirely on one day, 16 June 1904, Ulysses follows Leopold Bloom and Stephen Daedalus as they go about their daily business in Dublin. From this starting point, James Joyce constructs a novel of extraordinary imaginative richness and depth. Unique in the history of literature, Ulysses is one of the most important and enjoyable works of the twentieth century.

Contemporary Books About and Inspired by Greek Mythology

Greek Myths by Charlotte Higgins, Illustrated by Chris Ofili 

A brilliantly original, landmark retelling of Greek myths, recounted as if they were actual scenes being woven into textiles by the women who feature prominently in them–including Athena, Helen, Circe and Penelope.

 

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes 

Shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, a gorgeous retelling of the Trojan War from the perspectives of the many women involved in its causes and consequences–for fans of Madeline Miller.

 

Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes

The national bestselling author of A Thousand Ships returns with a fascinating, eye-opening take on the remarkable women at the heart of classical stories Greek mythology from Helen of Troy to Pandora and the Amazons to Medea.

 

The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Patient comes a spellbinding tale of psychological suspense, weaving together Greek mythology, murder, and obsession.

 

Daughter of Sparta by Claire Andrews

In this thrilling reimagining of ancient Greek mythology, a headstrong girl becomes the most powerful fighter her people have ever seen.

Greek Mythology Retellings

An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma 

Taking inspiration from the Odyssey, a heartbreaking story about a Nigerian poultry farmer who sacrifices everything to win the woman he loves.

 

Metamorphica by Zachary Mason 

In the tradition of his bestselling debut novel The Lost Books of the Odyssey, Zachary Mason’s Metamorphica transforms Ovid’s epic poem of endless transformation. It reimagines the stories of Narcissus, Pygmalion and Galatea, Midas and Atalanta, and strings them together like the stars in constellations–even Ovid becomes a story.

 

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Antigone retelling in a suspenseful and heartbreaking story of an immigrant family driven to pit love against loyalty, with devastating consequences.

 

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

 

Elektra by Jennifer Saint 

A spellbinding reimagining of the story of Elektra, one of Greek mythology’s most infamous heroines, from Jennifer Saint, the author of the beloved international bestseller, Ariadne.

List of Books About and Inspired by Greek Mythology

Ithaka by Adèle Geras 

Many years have passed since the end of the Trojan War, and Penelope is still waiting for her husband, Odysseus, to return home. The city of Ithaka is overrun with uncouth suitors from the surrounding islands who are vying to win Penelope’s hand in marriage, thereby gaining control of the land. When a naked, half-drowned man washes up on the beach, everything changes.

 

Mythos by Stephen Fry

Mythos is a modern collection of Greek myths, stylishly retold by legendary writer, actor, and comedian Stephen Fry. Fry transforms the adventures of Zeus and the Olympians into emotionally resonant and deeply funny stories, without losing any of their original wonder.

 

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller 

A tale of gods, kings, immortal fame, and the human heart, The Song of Achilles is a dazzling literary feat that brilliantly reimagines Homer’s enduring masterwork, The Iliad. An action-packed adventure, an epic love story, a marvelously conceived and executed page-turner.

 

Circe by Madeline Miller

With unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and page-turning suspense, Circe is a triumph of storytelling, an intoxicating epic of family rivalry, palace intrigue, love and loss, as well as a celebration of indomitable female strength in a man’s world.

 

Lore by Alexandra Bracken

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals. They are hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

Books Inspired by Greek Mythology

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Penelope. Immortalised in legend and myth as the devoted wife of the glorious Odysseus, silently weaving and unpicking and weaving again as she waits for her husband’s return. Now Penelope wanders the underworld, spinning a different kind of thread: her own side of the story – a tale of lust, greed and murder.

 

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Here is the story of the Iliad as we’ve never heard it before: in the words of Briseis, Trojan queen and captive of Achilles. Given only a few words in Homer’s epic and largely erased by history, she is nonetheless a pivotal figure in the Trojan War. In these pages she comes fully to life: wry, watchful, forging connections among her fellow female prisoners even as she is caught between Greece’s two most powerful warriors.

 

The Women of Troy by Pat Barker

A daring and timely feminist retelling of The Iliad from the perspective of the women of Troy who endured it–an extraordinary follow up to The Silence of the Girls from the Booker Prize-winning author of The Regeneration Trilogy.

 

Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith

Ali Smith’s remix of Ovid’s most joyful metamorphosis is a story about the kind of fluidity that can’t be bottled and sold. It is about girls and boys, girls and girls, love and transformation, a story of puns and doubles, reversals and revelations. Funny and fresh, poetic and political, here is a tale of change for the modern world.

 

Call Me Cassandra by Marcial Gala, translated by Anna Kushner 

Moving between Rauli’s childhood and adolescence, between the Angolan battlefield, the Cuban city of Cienfuegos, and the shores of ancient Troy, Marcial Gala’s Call Me Cassandra tells of the search for identity amid the collapse of Cuba’s utopian dreams. Burdened with knowledge of tragedies yet to come, Rauli nonetheless strives to know himself. Lyrical and gritty, heartbreaking and luminous, Rauli’s is the story of the inexorable pull of destiny.

What do you think about the books on this list?

Have you read any of these books?  Are any of these books on your TBR?  What books would you add to the list?

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  1. Horn, Lauren says:

    Emily Wilson’s retelling of the Odyssey is excellent. Her translation has beautiful meter of poetry and an absolute dreamy quality that is mesmerizing.

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