Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger

In Search of Myths and Heroes

Exploring Four Epic Legends of the World

Michael Wood (Author), Steve Razzetti (Photographer)

Available in US and Territories, Canada

Paperback, 272 pages
ISBN: 9780520251700
February 2007
In this compelling new book, accompanying the PBS television series of the same name, historian Michael Wood, whose renowned adventures have taken him to many remote and exciting places around the globe, now goes in search of four powerful legends: Shangri-La, the Golden Fleece, the Queen of Sheba, and the Holy Grail. Gorgeously illustrated by Steve Razzetti, with full-color photographs of some of the most beautiful landscapes and cities on earth, In Search of Myths and Heroes is a series of real journeys to real places and an encounter with the living descendants of the ancient cultures that produced the four legends. From the mountains of Tibet to the coasts of Ethiopia and Yemen to the city of Jerusalem and the far west of Ireland, Wood brings us along as he separates fact from fiction and discovers why these famous stories still captivate us.

Michael Wood’s In Search of Myths & Heroes explores four remarkable legends that have endured from ancient eras to modern times.

Shangri-la: The Paradise Myth

From Babylonia to ancient Tibet to Frank Capra’s movie Lost Horizon—the story of an earthly paradise has been immortalized through the ages. But was there a real Shangri-la?

Jason & the Golden Fleece: The Hero’s Quest

Possibly the oldest story in world literature and one still told today—from Gilgamesh to Star Wars—Jason’s quest is that of a young man who must venture into the unknown to complete an impossible task. It is a story of bravery, treachery, and love, but what price must our hero pay for achieving his “mission impossible”?

The Queen of Sheba: The Woman of Power

The tale of Sheba, told for more than two and half millennia in Arabia, the Near East, Africa, and Europe, is the story of a woman who is a founder of nations, a fantasy lover, the personification of wisdom, adored and demonized in equal measure. Is this the fate of powerful women even today?

Arthur: The Once & Future King

Arthur, said to have ruled in a golden age, had his power broken by human weakness and greed. His story, the myth of the king who will one day return, is echoed in nearly every culture in the world. But who was Arthur and why do we need to believe in him and his future reign?

Copub: BBC

The Search for Shangri-La
Jason and the Golden Fleece
The Queen of Sheba
Arthur: The Once and Future King

Further Reading
Michael Wood, journalist, broadcaster, and filmmaker, is author of several highly acclaimed books, including Domesday (1986), In Search of the Dark Ages (1987), Legacy (1995), In Search of the Trojan War (California, 1998), In Search of England (California, 2000), Conquistadors (California, 2002), and In Search of Shakespeare (2003). He has more than eighty documentary films to his name, among them Legacy, Saddam's Killing Fields, Art of the Western World, and In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great, for which he also wrote the accompanying book, published in paperback by California (2001).
“His trademark enthusiasm, eclectic scholarly background, and adventurous spirit are once again on display. . . . Wood’s skillful narrative tapestry of poetry, adventure, pop culture, and fact finding is mostly irresistible.”—Julia M. Klein, Cultural Reporter and Critic for The New York Times and Mother Jones. Archaeology Magazine
“Wood's writing is informed by sound research and a love of his work. It is beautifully enhanced by the photographic record of his travels and many personal interviews with those who still inhabit these ancient lands and in some cases believe the myths. . . . Wood succeeds in bringing these stories and places to life, while at the same time making one desire to see these places before they disappear.”—Charleston Post & Courier
“The book will drag your imagination into worlds both dreamt of and possibly real.”—The Tennessean

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more