At the coast of the northern seas, a boy is born to a local warrior and his wife. A boy fascinated by stories of monsters and heroes, and with a fondness of tormenting other children and animals. Convinced of his own magnificence as the true son of Zeus, ruler of the gods, the boy sets out to become the hero of a man that he knows he has inside him. As he grows up, he takes the name Heracles and follows a perilous path of both great deeds and cruelty. Heracles travels around the seas, and his journeys take him to enigmatic peoples and shamans, to mighty chieftains and warriors, and to men of ruthless cunning. Because, as once told by an oracle, he must travel to many places; never will he be able to stay long, due to his dreadful deeds.
Spanning from the thousand islands of the Baltic Sea to the dangerous waters of the North Sea, this is a tale of greed and violence, of abuse and lust, in the remote past.
Among stellar myths and legends in ancient literature appears a man, Alcides, a historical person who took the name Heracles. He is portrayed as a hero but was, in fact, a psychopath. This is his tale.
Heracles is based on a new theory by the Italian nuclear physicist Felice Vinci, who places the events in the Iliad and the Odyssey, and many other ancient Greek myths, in the far north. In her novel, Malena Lagerhorn brings us to the Nordic Bronze Age and asks the question why we make psychopaths to role models and heroes by stepping into the mind of a psychopath and letting him speak for himself.
Where does it all come from?
We have received curious qestions from visitors to this blog and here are some answers:
When writing Heracles – A Psychopath’s Tale, we have strictly kept to original Greek sources (translated into English and Swedish), namely the following:
Argonautica by Appollonius Rhodios
Bibliotheca by Apollodorus
Bibliotheca historica by Diodorus Siculus
Pausanias guide to Greece by Pausanias
Herakles by Euripides
The Histories of Herodotus by Herodotus
The only source we have used from Roman times is the Argonautica of Gaius Valerius Flaccus. The Roman sources are younger and often based on the Greek sources so we concluded that the Greek sources are more reliable.
What we have also done, which differs from many other writers, is that we have exclusively used primary sources. When you use secondary sources, it easily happens that you stop thinking for yourself and are instead imbued with ”ready-made-opinions”. We wanted to look at the events with fresh eyes and see where we arrived. We have also meticulously sorted out everything that can be referred to as “stellar myths” and have used those events that are fairly probable that a man living during the Bronze Age in the North actually could have experienced.