In Search of Myths and Heroes: Exploring Four Epic Legends of the World

Michael Wood


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.
Wood first pursues the legend of the hidden valley of Shangri-La, said to be a place behind the western Himalayas where the wisdom of humanity is preserved. A paradise myth, the story of Shangri-La has been immortalized in Frank Capra's movie Lost Horizon, but was there a real Shangri-La?
Wood then travels to Greece to explore the legend of Jason's search for the Golden Fleece, the ultimate quest, one even older than Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. But was there really an expedition beyond the limits of the known world in the mists of prehistory?
Traveling to the Horn of Africa, Wood turns to the fascinating legend of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, a story found in the Bible, the Muslim Koran, and the Ethiopian Book of Kings. The Ethiopians claim the Queen of Sheba founded their nation, but who, in fact, was she?
Finally, Wood travels through the Celtic countries of the British Isles in search of the tales of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. Was there a real King Arthur? And why does the quest for the Grail continue to obsess us today?

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