Cover of Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons by Jane Yolen and Robert J Harris

Young Heroes: Hippolyta and the Curse of the Amazons

The Young Heroes series:

The idea of a Young Heroes series came from my editor at HarperCollins, but choosing to work with Bob Harris–already my co-conspirator from Queen’s Own Fool who had a degree from St Andrews University in Classics–that was my idea. Together we decided to have both boy and girl heroes and project them backwards, using what archeologists have told us about the civilization he or she would have inhabited if our young heroes had been real.

The first book was Odysseus in the Serpent Maze, but we decided the second book would focus on a female hero, and who better than an Amazon princess. Since Amazons are all female, what greater threat to their kingdom than a male–and a baby at that. So our stage was set, our heroine chosen, and the problem defined. We wrote this way: first we discussed the story, figured out the story arc, thought a couple of chapters ahead, and then Bob wrote a draft because he is the best plotter. The next step was mine: I shaped the book into scenes and dialogue. He went over the entire thing with carefully bared teeth. I filed his teeth down on the final draft. Final–that is–except for the editor’s three revisions which took us the rest of the long year.

In some ways this book is darker than the first book of the series, which was a romp. Here we wrestle with problems of gender, sibling rivalry, and finding the courage to face one’s deepest fears.

A Junior Library Guild selection.

South Carolina Junior Book Award Nominee 2005

See Bob Harris’s thoughts on working with me.

What reviewers have said:

  • “Zena fans take heed: Yolen and Harris draw a minor figure from old Greek tales front and center for an edifying, as well as action-filled, encounter with quarreling gods, monsters, rival Amazons, and—ugh—men. … As in the “Younger Heroes” series opener, Odysseus in the Serpent Maze (2001), the level of explicit violence may be low but the action is nonstop, fleshed out with accurate details from both history and myth that will give readers a taste of what the classical stories themselves have to offer.” — Kirkus
  • “This is a detailed, compelling story, and its nonstop action will involve even reluctant readers.” — School Library Journal
  • “In this second entry in the Young Heroes series (starting with Odysseus in the Serpent Maze), the authors hit a loping stride into adventure that begins on the first page and doesn’t let up until the conclusion.” — Bulletin for the Center for Children’s Books
  • “Jane Yolen and Robert Harris do a wonderful job of taking someone who’s relatively unknown in the grand scheme of Greek mythos and fleshing her out into a character as real and believable as any modern teenager … if teenagers were allowed to carry double-bladed axes, that is. Yolen and Harris are in top form with this book, proving once again that Yolen has well earned her reputation as a master of the fantastic. This book is for young and old readers alike, and worth checking out.” — S/F Chronicle
  • “Not only are these books exciting and full of adventure — they are full of interesting information about the Gods of ancient Greece, ancient customs, and cultures. This series is guaranteed to make learning about Greek mythology fun! Read on and enjoy!” —

Online review from the SFRevu.

Available in hardcover.