A faithful dog from Greek mythology... Argos by Phillip W. Simpson (Blog Tour Guest Post & Giveaway) @chapterxchapter @PhillipWSimpson @Month9Books

I get to welcome author Phillip W. Simpson to my blog today as part of his tour. He's sharing about the inspiration behind Argos and some Greek favorites. Check it all out below...

by Phillip W. Simpson
YA Fantasy, Greek Myths, Retelling
Paperback & ebook, 300 Pages
May 10th 2016 by Month9Books


Loyalty has no limits

Raised from a pup by Greek hero, Odysseus, Argos has come to learn the true meaning of love and loyalty. But when Odysseus leaves for the Trojan War, little does Argos know it will be 20 years before he sees his master again. With Odysseus gone his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, are easy prey for neighboring kings and the Gods themselves.

But Argos was tasked to keep them safe until Odysseus returns and that is a promise he is determined to keep – whatever the cost. Told through his eyes, Argos recounts the story of his life – his pain, his joy, his triumphs and failures; his endurance in the face of hardships almost too great to believe.

Above all else, Argos strives to do what is right – and to remain loyal to his King when all others have given up hope. To live long enough to see his beloved master one more time.

This epic myth of love and loyalty proves that a dog really is man's best friend.

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Inspiration for Writing Argos' Tale

This was a labor of love for me. I have always loved dogs and stories of dog's courage and loyalty. Hearing or reading these never fail to make me cry. Particularly stories of dogs like Grey Friar's bobby and Hachiko. And then there's the story of Argos - probably the most famous and loyal dog of all time. In Homer's Odyssey, there's literally only one page dedicated to the death of Argos and for me, it was the most moving scene in the whole book.

The Odyssey

I chose to write from Argos’ POV because it’s the road least travelled. There has been much written about Odysseus and his life but never something from the perspective of his dog. I like writing from the perspective of a little known character or a misunderstood one. Minor characters often have interesting stories to tell. I had to write this book, not only for myself but for all the dogs I've loved throughout my life.

This is the passage that inspired me (Homer’s Odyssey, Book 17: 260-32). In this scene, Odysseus finally returns to Ithaka (disguised by Athena as a beggar) after twenty years only to encounter Argos on a dungheap, neglected and dying. Odysseus cannot acknowledge him otherwise he will reveal himself to Penelope’s suitors and lose the element of surprise:

“As they spoke, a dog who was lying there lifted his head and pricked up his ears. It was Argos, Odysseus’ dog; he had trained him and brought him up as a puppy, but never hunted with him before he sailed off to Troy. In earlier times the young men had taken him out with them to hunt for wild goats and deer and hares, but he had grown old in his master’s absence, and now he lay abandoned on one of the heaps of mule and cattle dung that piled up outside the front gates until the farmhands could come by and cart it off to manure the fields. And so the dog Argos lay there, covered with ticks. As soon as he was aware of Odysseus, he wagged his tail and flattened his ears, but he lacked the strength to get up and go to his master. Odysseus wiped a tear away, turning aside to keep the swineherd from seeing it, and he said,

“Eumaeus, it is surprising that such a dog, of such quality, should be lying here on a dunghill. He is a beauty, but I can’t tell if his looks were matched by his speed or if he was one of those pampered table dogs, which are kept around just for show.”

And just then death came and darkened the eyes of Argos, who had seen Odysseus again after twenty years.”

Makes me cry. Every time.

Favorite movies based on Greek myth:

  •         Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
  •         Clash of the Titans (1981 version)
  •         Brother Where art thou (2000)
  •         Troy (2004)
  •         Immortals (2011)
Jason and the Argonauts
O Brother, Where Art Thou?Immortals

Favorite book based on Greek myth:

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
The Song of Achilles

About the Author

Phillip W. Simpson has written over 50 children’s books for both middle grade and young adult readers. He has a background in Ancient History and Archaeology, and has partially completed his doctorate in Archaeology. He lives in Auckland, New Zealand, with his wife Rose, their son, Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. When not writing, he works as an elementary school teacher.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Argos by Phillip W. Simpson (INT)

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Have you read Homer's Odyssey or other Greek myths or retellings? Any favorites?

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