Updated: Jan 20
In Argo, Mark Knowles has taken the legend of Jason and the golden fleece, and stripped it down to its bare bones. There are no gods, no monsters, no magical creatures of myth. What is left is a deeply researched historical epic, so brilliantly brought to life I could taste the salt air on my tongue.
The book brings an element of Band of Brothers, as a crew are formed to sail Argo to the far reaches of the known world, to barter with a king for a fleece of gold. There is also an element of 'lads on tour' which I rather immaturely enjoyed (our hearty crew devour a lot of wine, and have a keen eye for the local women) for me this helped bring the characters to life, their personalities, their pasts and their flaws are etched out of them as the crew swap stories around a night time fire.
There's no real fixed POV in the book, meaning we get to see into the minds of many of the men in the crew. By journey's end we are at one with them, ready to fight at their side as faced with betrayal, they are left at earths end to fight for their very survival.
For a first instalment in a trilogy this really does have everything. Epic battles, well rounded characters sailing through a brilliantly described world.