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Publisher's Summary

Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are unquestionably two of the greatest epic masterpieces in Western literature. Though more than 2,700 years old, their stories of brave heroics, capricious gods, and towering human emotions are vividly timeless.

The Iliad can justly be called the world’s greatest war epic. The terrible and long-drawn-out siege of Troy remains one of the classic campaigns, the heroism and treachery of its combatants unmatched in song and story. Driven by fierce passions and loyalties, men and gods battle to a devastating conclusion.

The Odyssey chronicles the many trials and adventures Odysseus must pass through on his long journey home from the Trojan wars to his beloved wife. Though the stormy god of the ocean has sworn vengeance against him, and witches and sirens try to lure him off course, Odysseus is clever and has the brilliant goddess Athena on his side.

Homer (9th or 8th century B.C.) is the presumed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, the two greatest epic poems of ancient Greece. Virtually nothing is known about his life. Tradition has it that he was blind. Most scholars believe he composed the Iliad and the Odyssey by relying on oral traditions. Their value lies chiefly in the poetry itself, moving from sublime passages about the gods and heroic exploits to passages expressing deep human emotion.

Public Domain (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The best translation of Homer that I have ever read is by W. H. D. Rouse." (Dudley Fitts)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Revisit the Classics

I really enjoyed these books in high school and decided to enjoy the story again. I don't know the differences in translation but I thought this one was effective and easy to grasp. The stories are well told by Heald. The recounting of the Trajan War and Odysseus's trip are engaging to new and repeating listeners. This will not disappoint.

22 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Best Iliad experience on Audible

The Iliad is one of those books which can be made or broken by the narrator. With this rendition, Anthony Heald has immediately joined my list of favourites (Patrick Tull, Nigel Lambert, Stephen Fry..) He breathes life into every one of the characters and more than makes up for any quibbles you might have with the translation.

I did not quite like the Butler translation read by Lescault. Butler uses Roman names for Greek Gods, and Lescault's narration is rather bland. Heald injects so much energy that you'd find a grocery list interesting (and to be frank, there are bits of the Iliad which are pretty grocery-like in character)

As for the book - well, it's the Iliad! A magnificent crusty old monument whose shadow falls across Western literature through the ages... well worth your time.

94 of 98 people found this review helpful

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a must listen, no way around it

If you think you would like these books then you should just pull the trigger. This recording is great and the story its self is of course wonderful.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Phenomenal!

What did you love best about Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey?

Being able to listen to both stories back to back because they feed off of and inform one another. The language, the imagery, the characters, the action. Given that these stories were originally performed live by traveling poets and singers, listening to the story comes closer to approximating the original experience.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey?

When Odysseus reunited with his son, wife, and father.

Which character – as performed by Anthony Heald – was your favorite?

Odysseus.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but I broke it up over a month.

Any additional comments?

A must read, a cornerstone of Western literature.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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Epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey

These books were amaizing leather-bound but we're a unique and fantastic journey when performed on audio. I highly recommend these books for anyone who enjoys epics, Greek history, or Mesopotamian lore.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Douglas
  • Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 10-07-15

Two Epics Told Well

I had not read these two epics since middle school/high school, so it was basically like I was studying it for the first time. I really cannot comment on this particular translation because it's the only one I've read.

I like Anthony Heald's voice and style. It may take some listeners a while to get used to him. I had just recently heard him narrate Crime and Punishment, so I was already comfortable with him.

The Iliad is a tough one to get through for me. All the names and gods confuse me. It also took me quite a while to get down which warriors were on which side (and I'm not sure I ever figured out which gods were on which side). The digressions and lists are tedious.

Let's face it: the majority of the Iliad is just the reporting of who killed who.

I've never really been a big fan of the whole "intervening god" thing that the Greeks and Romans have in all of their tales. I can dig their view that fate and fortune trump "freewill." However, in the Iliad things are taken to extreme lengths. I mean it's one thing for Zeus to make a warrior angry so that he goes and kills some guy on the other side; it's another for one of the gods to shield one of the mortals or literally carry them to safety.

I found it interesting that the story of Achilles' death is not included in the Iliad. We know that he will die, and even how he will die, but the actual event is not in the book.

The Odyssey is a much more interesting and enjoyable book in my opinion (I know that technically these are poems and not books, but they may as well be books). While the gods are still obviously always involved, their dealings with one another are largely absent from this story. The action in this story is more than just battle. There are fun stories such as the escape from the cyclops, and the men being turned into farm animals. There is also a satisfying ending, which seems rare for the genre.

Throughout both of these epics I kept thinking "isn't there more to this?" I kept waiting for the story of the Trojan Horse to be fleshed out. The story of the Sirens was a blip. I guess that many of the stories are told or added to in other works or myths.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Travel back to the great war

The Illiad & the Odessey are epics with global recognition for a reason. The description of the Trojan war, the embedded stories of its heroes and the continuous oscillation between hope & despair make this a wonderful audio book. The post war journey of Oddeyseus is like a to a fairly tale.

A word of caution though. Since this is unabridged and a translation, it requires patience. It's not fast paced and there are more than one instances of repeatations. Read it if you have the patience to hear the author describe every detail, however trivial with unparalleled similes. From the scar on Oddeseus's foot to the pre determined fate of Achilles, everything has been described in detail to gladden the heart of a story lover.

The narration is something to look forward too. It breathes life into the epics.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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A Classic

A great reading of Homer. It is engaging. I highly recommend this production. I will definitely listen to it again.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Not a complete Iliad!

Would you try another book from Homer and W. H. D. Rouse (translator) and/or Anthony Heald?

The translation and performance are quite good. A nice balance of poetry and Plain understandable language. Major complaint: the text of the Iliad is not complete! This is a big deal.

What was most disappointing about Homer and W. H. D. Rouse (translator) ’s story?

There seems to be a few chapters missing in which SPOILER ALERT- Achilles kills hector and then is killed by Paris. I am not a classics scholar but I am damn sure that this version is missing part of the standard text of the Iliad. I a phase read other er versions in text and there's no doubt in my mind that this is a glaring error. Seriously unexcusable. If there is some scholarly explanation of why parts are omitted it should appear in the description or some afterword.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey?

None, it is already missing important parts of the supposedly unabridged text

Any additional comments?

I love audible but this sort of omission is very problematic. This is not the first time when I have suspected that some text was omitted from supposedly unabridged texts. I recall how many other audiblebooks are not divided accurately into chapters, making it almost impossible to refer back to any particular place in the book. Seriously audible, get your act together. We know your parent company has plenty of resources to deal with silly errors like this . Show some friggin effort to ensure the quality of the things you publish you lazy bums!

45 of 64 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic Narration

If you're looking to listen to an enjoyable translation performed by a captivating narrator, this is the audible book for you!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Angeles Martinez
  • 03-17-15

beautiful stories, beautifully read..

What made the experience of listening to Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey the most enjoyable?

both books have been on my "to do" list for years but for some reason I thought of reading them a bit of a daunting task. What a pleasure to listen to them, so beautifully read or should I say acted? so many names, gods, mortals.. I found it confusing at the beginning, who is who? who is doing what to whom? and it really doesn't matter, just listen and enjoy every minute.

What did you like best about this story?

everything

Have you listened to any of Anthony Heald’s other performances? How does this one compare?

no, but I thought he was fantastic

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

let yourself be carried away ....

Any additional comments?

forgive my possible mistakes, english is not my mother tongue.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr llewellyn
  • 09-23-15

Epic. Literally

Enjoyed this so much. Hearing the tale and recalling it from lessons as a kid was gratifying. I must have been listening in classical civilisation more than I thought!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Nicky Beet
  • 09-21-14

truly epic

Would you listen to Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey again? Why?

Yes i would as im bound to forget bits of it over time

What other book might you compare Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey to, and why?

It compares favourably to any book of myth&legend of the gods&greats

Have you listened to any of Anthony Heald’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No I have not but his voice fitted well with the story&genre

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

To much to take in in 1go

Any additional comments?

It is an epic in every sense of the word
Not only is it a wonderful story but it also offers insights into ancient gree hustory,culture&society
Shows the gods warts&all as both great&petty amongst many things.

In time this will be how we view our own books of gods&myths

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • ColonelJames
  • 10-01-15

Great stories and a performance to match.

What did you like most about Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey?

Anthony Heald's performance. I was dubious even listening to the audio clip ("Dr. Chilton from Silence of the Lambs for the length of two epic poems? Surely not!") but quite honestly it is the best audiobook performance I have ever heard. The strength of the voice; the attention to detail in phrasing and emphasis; the characterization - it is consistently wonderful. I was rapt. What an utterly under-appreciated talent Heald is.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey?

One of the Gods appears to the Greeks as an old man. For some reason Heald gives him an Irish accent. It is highly entertaining.

Which character – as performed by Anthony Heald – was your favourite?

Zeus.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, though you would do well to concentrate for the length of these two.

Any additional comments?

Anthony Heald is my next Audible search word!

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kirstine
  • 07-05-16

WIth regret, I gave up

For many years I'd meant to read these icons of classical literature, but never got around to them. As I listen to audio books all the time this set seems a good opportunity to immerse myself in in the world of Agamemnom, Achilles, Odysseus et al. After several hours of listening I sadly gave up. Largely because the overly frenetic narration in a strong, American accent. I'm sorry to say it just didn't work for me. The text also needed a slower delivery to allow the listener to take in all the unfamilar names.

It's difficult to rate the story, which I'm sure is worth five stars, but, for me needed to be narrated by someone else.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • J. C. Maynard-daley
  • 03-16-16

Once I started I couldn't switch it off

Great voice acting by Anthony Heald one of the best in his field, and he really makes this an entertaining read 😀

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Miss V. Bakova
  • 11-19-14

Fantastic!!!!

If you could sum up Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey in three words, what would they be?

Interesting, Intelligent, Thrilling.

Have you listened to any of Anthony Heald’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No

Any additional comments?

Anthony Heald brings an old story back to life. Simply the best performance I have ever heard.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • bookylady
  • 03-23-18

Out of My Comfort Zone But Glad I Tried It.

I have been trying for years to pluck up the courage to read these epic tales. I am not a classicist and the books were well out of my comfort zone. I found The Iliad quite difficult to p concentrate upon. The hordes of characters and unfamiliar names, countries etc made this a book I had to listen to in large chunks, otherwise I had to keep rewinding it to remind myself of things.

The Iliad concentrates on the siege of Troy and the events that lead up to it. It is a book about war and soldiering and so it really wasn't my cup of tea. It also ended very suddenly which I found a bit difficult and unsatisfying. But there were positive moments and passages of real enjoyment. I just had to keep reminding myself that the tale was written over two thousand years ago and I couldn't apply modern sensibilities to it.

I enjoyed The Odyssey a lot more as it was full of familiar tales from Greek mythology. It was easy to follow and more enjoyable as a reading/listening experience. Again, I had to disengage my modern sensibilities quite a lot and remember that the roles of men, women and children were very different in those times. The Greek warrior code pervades both books.

The narrator did a good overall job but somehow I coudn't warm to his performance. I think a more solemn, deeper voice might have helped the style of the book, but that is just a personal opinion. I found the narrator's voice irritating, but I cannot put my finger on why this was.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • alan caffrey
  • 12-30-16

Excellent

Excellent reading of the greatest epic poems ever written. Need I say more? Apparently so because my original review had too few characters.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. C. Horsfall
  • 12-30-16

long long book

I know that this is one of the classics. However, there is so much repetition that the book lasts forever. You need a lot of patience to enjoy this book.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-09-18

classic

great story from a time long ago. would recommend to anyone who has ever watched or liked hercules or played god of war

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  • Corey
  • 08-30-18

Epic

Epic is the only word I can use to describe Homer and his books. Epic from start to finish.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-24-17

Everyone should read or listen to this.

it is so well read and a pleasure to listen to. great lessons for anyone

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  • Mr
  • 09-12-14

10/10

What did you like most about Homer Box Set: Iliad & Odyssey?

Exceptional narration from Anthony Heald, captures the romanticism of the classical Greek epics.

2 of 7 people found this review helpful