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About the Author: Bruce McLaren

Bruce McLaren is an Australian from rural New South Wales, who left home and just kept on going. He has an academic background in the archaeology and ancient history of the Middle East and Central Asia, regions in which he has both travelled and worked extensively.

McLaren received his doctorate in Middle Eastern Archaeology at the University of Sydney and published the first examination of the military architecture of Bronze Age Jordan in 2003. He has excavated at numerous sites across the Middle East, dating from the Neolithic to the Islamic Periods, and is intimately acquainted with the ancient and modern history of Syria.

McLaren has always considered Syria to be the most mysterious and wondrous of lands and used to entertain serious thoughts of living out his days in Damascus. Instead, he now resides in the United States, where he sadly views events in the Syrian land that he loves from afar.

Herakles - A Fable Cover Image

Find the best price forHerakles - A Fable

Paperback, Published in Nov 2011 by Peter Bruce McLaren

ISBN10: 0615557295 | ISBN13: 9780615557298

Page count: 198

'Herakles - A Fable' is a masterful modern rendering of the timeless epic from classical Greek mythology. In the Greek myth, Herakles was a son of Zeus and the epitome of masculinity. In a fit of madness, Herakles murders his own children. To atone for this heinous act Herakles is set twelve tasks by his arch-nemesis, Eurystheus. Upon completing his tasks Herakles is granted immortality. In this contemporary fable, an old man is spending his final days beneath an oak tree in the garden of a nursing home. Presumed to be incapacitated and mute, the old man in fact possesses the unique ability to communicate with all elements of nature, including the sun and the moon, the birds and the bees, and the squirrels that climb in the trees. One day, the sun informs the old man that he is the only 'great man' on earth. A passing wasp overhears the conversation. Angered by this claim, the wasp demands proof of his alleged 'greatness' of the old man. Proof must be provided in the form of a story, to be told by the old man on a subject of the wasp's choosing. If the wasp is dissatisfied then it will sting the frail old man, ensuring his certain demise. The story told by the old man is enigmatic, and infuriates, yet also intrigues the wasp, leaving it wanting to know more. A second story is demanded, then a third, until, just like Herakles, twelve tasks must be completed. The stories related by the old man tell the tale of F, a young boy living in a remote valley in the Australian bush. F is acutely attuned to the natural world around him. As F grows older he is increasingly affected by the works of men, and leaves the valley on a journey in search of truth. His search takes him on an adventure around the world, through Greece and Spain, Egypt and Israel, Jordan and Uzbekistan. 'Herakles - A Fable', is both a wondrous tale of magic and mystery, yet also a work of deep philosophical reflection. Central tenets of the philosophy of the Stoics and Nietzsche are subtly espoused, including the interconnectedness of all life, the idea of eternal recurrence, and the need to embrace 'the all' in life, both the good and the bad, if man is ever going to rise high and live as a god. The role of religion in the context of human development is openly confronted, while the value of science as born from Socratic logic, and the problems resulting from the transition from a nomadic to a sedentary existence, are both seriously assessed. Yet the central message born from the fable is the affirmation of life, this life, and the need to embrace every moment of existence as a gift of sparkling magic to be reveled in. Although 'Herakles' is a work of philosophy, it is essentially a beautiful fable and a book of mysteries, written to be enjoyed by both young and old. Gems lay hidden throughout the tale, waiting to be discovered by the astute reader, while important philosophical ideas run like underground currents of cool water, occasionally emerging in tranquil springs to provide the reader with refreshment to parch the thirst for intellectual truth. 'Herakles - A Fable', is a book that stands outside of time, and certainly outside of our modern era, for it dares to question the values endemic in this world. Because of this, Herakles will stand the test of time, and generations of readers given to profound reflection will be rewarded by comprehending 'the mystery that lies within'.

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