Perseus retold by Geraldine McCaughrean

Cover to Perseus retold by Geraldine McCaughrean

Sometimes it’s better to not know what the future holds. King Acrisius asks the oracle serpent how he will die. The answer frightens him: by his grandson’s hand. But he has no grandson. His daughter Danaë isn’t even married…. And now, the king is determined she never will be.

He builds an astonishingly tall tower just for her. Trusting him as she does, she goes to the top to see the view, only to find she is imprisoned. That’s the plan her father had for her. To let her grow old without ever knowing the comfort of a husband or a child. He thought he was being merciful—after all, he didn’t kill her, did he? She could have anything she wanted up there, as long as she stayed up there and away from everyone else.

The king’s people didn’t like it, and they didn’t like him for doing it, for the lovely girl sang all day, constantly reminding them of his wicked deed. But Danaë wasn’t –entirely- alone. She caught the eye of Zeus, king of the Greek gods.

Nine months later, the king had a grandson named Perseus. When King Acrisius heard the news, he schemed a way to get rid of them without having literal blood on his hands.

In Perseus, Geraldine McCaughrean does a fine job of retelling a story of foolish mortals, brave heroes, and interfering gods. Short enough to finish during a lazy afternoon, it’s an enjoyable way to take in a classic myth made fresh, while still keeping to the original’s intent. Along the way, you’ll also encounter Athene, Atlas, the Fates, Gorgons, Hera, Medusa, Pluto, Poseidon, Pegasus, and more. 

If you like Perseus, check out the rest of her Heroes series: Odysseus, Theseus, and Hercules, as well as her other books, many mythic, for young people.

Below are samples from a professional, full-cast audio production of Geraldine McCaughrean's Perseus. Perhaps there are a few spoilers, but there is so much story to this myth that they may not matter: