International best-selling author Terry Deary reinvents the myth of Prometheus, the Titan who stole fire from the gods and gave it to the human race. To escape the gods' revenge, Prometheus travels through time to a murky metropolis called Eden City. There, he befriends a motley assortment of comic characters and learns what humans have done with his gift of fire.
Enter our narrator: Jim, a young orphan, actor, aspiring novelist, and petty criminal who rids the wealthy of their worldly possessions. With the help of Jim, Terry Deary masterfully interweaves two plots, with the action jumping at a whirlwind pace from Mount Olympus to the seedy taverns and elegant mansions of Victorian Eden City. Prometheus has a soft spot for humans in need, but using his powers to get his new friends out of trouble will betray his hiding place to the gods!
Using humorous footnotes, shameless puns, and literary references to everyone from Dickens to Poe, Terry Deary has created an original work that will have readers laughing out loud.
About the Author
Terry Deary is the author of over 160 books. He writes both fiction and nonfiction to much acclaim and has a hand in the television, theater, and radio worlds as well. His Horrible History series has sold twenty million copies worldwide, and his books have been translated into twenty-eight languages. Deary has won numerous awards, including Blue Peter's Best Nonfiction Author of the Century in the United Kingdom. He was named a Doctor of Education by Sunderland University. For more information please visit www.terry-deary.net.
Read an Excerpt
Greece—the dawn of time
This is where my story begins. I wasn't there myself in ancient Greece, but one of the actors in this terrible tale told me the story, and I believe him. Let me tell you his story as if I was a writer—I've always wanted to be a writer.
Who am I? Wait and see. Let's start at the dawn of time . . .
The bird soared and wheeled in the cloudless sky over the silent earth.
Beneath it lay valleys of rich green and white-topped mountains. A crystal blue sea shone in the distance. A deep forest loomed beneath the monstrous bird, and from the heart of the darkness a smudge of smoke rose into the clean air.
"Ahh!" the bird growled. "Fire." It scented the sooty air and climbed away from it. Then it turned and arrowed toward a distant mountain. "Breakfast," it hissed, and then it swooped down. Rabbits froze, terrified as the bird's death shadow passed over them. The bird ignored them and let the warm air lift it up the mountainside.
As it climbed, the shimmering grass below gave way to gray, wind-scrubbed shrubs and then bare rocks, too bleak for even moss to grow.
The bird lifted its hooked beak and half closed its curved wings till it dropped toward one massive boulder. On the boulder lay a man. Windburned and sunbaked, he lay there as the bird's claws clattered against his rock and it skidded to a halt. "Oooops!" the bird croaked. "After all this time I'm still not good at landing."
Fine chains had sunk into the rocks, and they wrapped around the man's wrists and ankles. Fine links—but unbreakable.
The bird shook its gold-brown feathers, and its black eyes burned. "Good morning, Prometheus. I hope you slept well," the bird hissed.
The man smiled. His face was as handsome as a god. "I slept very well."
The bird blinked. "You seem cheerful," it snapped suspiciously.
"I slept well," the man cried. "And had such wonderful dreams! I dreamed of freedom."
"You don't deserve it," the bird snarled. "You stole fire from the gods, and you gave it to those crawling creatures they call humans. You sneaked it away,
hidden inside a reed—you are no better than some robber on the road." The bird began to screech and ruffle its feathers. "The humans will burn our world and choke us all with smoke. You deserve worse than death . . . Fire Thief."
Prometheus smiled again. "And I have a punishment worse than death, don't
I? My cousin Zeus chained me here in the sun and snow, in the wind and hail, always to suffer but never to die."
A big gray tongue rolled from the side of the bird's cruel beak. "And worse,
Prometheus, and worse. You have me. The Fury. The great Avenger of the gods."
The bird began to pant. "What am I going to do, Prometheus?"
Prometheus opened his eyes as wide as a baby. "Oh! I don't know! What have you done every day for the last two hundred years, Fury? You have used your little beak to peck into my side and pull out my liver. You have killed me every morning for one hundred years. And every night I return to life to suffer again the next dawn."
"I don't peck," the bird snarled. "I tear."
"Feels like a peck to me," Prometheus said with a sad shake of his head.
The Fury was furious. "I don't pull your liver—I rip and rive it from your body."
"Feels like a little tug to me," the man shrugged, and the chains rattled against the rock.
The bird's claws clattered as it stamped angrily. "I wish Zeus would let me tear out your lying tongue and your laughing eyes," it screeched.
"Sorry, just my little old liver," the man sighed. "Come closer, Fury."
The bird froze. "What?"
"I want to tell you about my dream."
"Why would I want to hear your dream? You'll be dreaming the dreams of the dead in a moment when I tear and rip your body."
"Ah, it was such a dream, though. The sort of a dream you have once in two hundred years," the man murmured.
The bird edged closer. It wiped its beak against the cold rock to sharpen the tip. "Lift your head, Prometheus," the bird screeched. "Look at the valley.
That smoke down there choked me this morning. Smoke from the fires that
YOU gave to those pitiful human animals. Your liver will taste all the better this morning."
The bird lunged at the man's side. The hand of Prometheus slipped free of the chain and grasped the bird by the neck. It gave a startled squawk. Its black eyes bulged, and its body struggled. But the more its body writhed, the more its neck ached.
"I haven't finished telling you about my dream," the man said, and his voice was as soft as his hand was hard. "In my dream my friend Hercules came up the mountain. He is the strongest creature in the world. Stronger than me."
Prometheus sighed and squeezed the feathered neck a little harder. "Stronger than you. And Hercules snapped my chains like they were made out of grass. Just like I am going to snap your neck now."
The bird writhed and croaked. "You said it was a dream."
"I lied," Prometheus said with a laugh. "I still have friends." He squeezed again. "Strong friends, like Hercules. Good friends who think that I was unfairly treated. Friends who sent Hercules to set me free last night."
"A dream, you said!"
"A dream come true."
"Zeus will never let you escape," the bird gasped. "No matter where you try to hide on this earth, he will find you."
Prometheus shrugged and shook off the broken chains. "Maybe I won't hide in this world," he murmured. He squeezed. There was a crunch of broken bone, a small sigh, and the monstrous bird hung limp in the man's hands. He flung it away from him in disgust, its cruel beak and curved claws clattering on the cool rock.
Prometheus rose and stretched. The world lay beneath him. He set off down the mountainside, his legs stiff from 200 years of chains. He felt like he was being watched. He stopped and looked back. The eyes of the monstrous bird were dull and dead. He squinted up into the morning sun and saw a shadow cross it. The shadow of a long-necked bird. A swan.
The young man closed his eyes for a moment and groaned. "Zeus," he hissed. "Zeus." He looked for somewhere to hide. But on the bleak, bare mountain there was nowhere at all.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the first book in a trilogy of books about a Titan named Prometheus. Prometheus stole fire form Zeus and the gods and gave it to humans. In punishment, Zeus commanded that Prometheus be chained to the Causasus Mountains for ever. There, an eagle would eat his liver, and each day the liver would regrow again, making the punishment go on forever. Prometheus then escaped and killed the eagle or so he thought. Zeus then tracked him down and told him that if he found a human hero he would be set free, but the eagle would chase him to the end of time. Theus then goes into the future and meets Jim and Uncle Edward. They run around and hold play but while Uncle Edward is reciting the final poem Jim steals all the expensive things. Uncle Edward and Jim get caught. They are sinteced to death will be hanged. Uncle Edward then arranges that he will die and not Jim. Theus takes the spot of Uncle Edward because Theus can not die. Jim and Uncle Edward then leave the city. Theus has not found the hero but now know that 200 years there was a boy that had a temple made for him. Theus will search for the hero the eagle will search for Theus. This is a really good book that I read before but just had to read again. I really like how Terry Deary wrote this book. He has a lot of humor and exciting parts. I also like how Theus always has to run from the eagle. Terry Deary does a real nice job with creating smart, funny, stupid and many of kinds of characters. Terry Deary is an amazing writer. everybody should read this exciting book.
This is a book about greek god interacting with humans. The god Theus was punished for giving fire to humans. But, he breaks free and in on a quest to find a human hero. On his way, he runs into a boy and his uncle, but is tricked into helping them steal items. The book is also an adventure book. It is also book one in a short series.I liked this book mainly because it's an action book. I especially like when Theus escapes the noose. I recomend this book for all ages. The one thing I didn't like was it didn't present much of a challenge when reading. The book was a little hard to understand at some points though. I think it was an averal good book. The next book in the series most likely is too.
in the style of "lamb" by christopher moore, funny, hilarious (steph recommended)
This story was unusual as it takes a well known Greek Myth and re-works it as told from the view point of a young boy living in the 1800s. The book takes place after Prometheus is freed from his chains by Hercules and he escapes from the Fury sent to rip out his liver. When Zeus sees that Prometheus has been freed he tells Prometheus (Theus to his freinds) to find a Hero among men and he will be free. Enter young Jim the thief along with mastermind Uncle Edward visiting a smog ridden city in the 1800s. What happens when Theus joins the theiving pair in the hopes of finding a hero is an interesting tale.Generally the story is told in the first person POV except those times when the first person becomes the narrator and speaks directly to the reader in footnotes (which became a little distracting after a while) and chapter starts. Although I generally enjoyed the humor employed in the narrator's direction to the reader, I did not like the amount of foreshadowing the author did during the telling of the story. I think I would have enjoyed it better if a less had been revealed of the climax of the story before it actually occurred.All in all this is a clever tale which I think boys and girls perhaps fourth or fifth grade and up would enjoy.
I think kids between the ages of 4th to 8th grade would love this book. It is short and easy to read and the footnotes are hilarious.
It begins at the dawn of time with Prometheus, who is chained to a rock because he brought fire to humankind. Theus, for short, was a titan and Zeus, the king of the Gods, made sure that he never forgot what he did. Every morning while chained to the rock, a fury would come and tear out his liver. Of course by nightfall Theus would be alive again. Well, when we start the story, Hercules has arrived and helped Theus escape. Zeus discovers this and challenges Theus to find a hero among the humans. If he does he will be forgiven.
Theus sets out and crosses time to 1858 and lands in the murky city known as Eden City. Eden City is very Dickens-like. It is full of zany characters, poor people, rich fiends, and thrilling situations. There Theus meets Jim, an orphan, who has fallen in with a diabolical thief, Uncle Edward. He gets involved with their caper and within twenty-four hours all of the characters lives have changed for the better.
Terry Deary, while teaching about Greek mythology, has written a story that is exciting and funny -- which is a wonderful combination. This is the first of three books in THE FIRE THIEF series, and I need to go finish the second one. Go pick up a copy of THE FIRE THIEF. You won't be sorry.
I think kids between the ages of 4th to 8th grade would love this book. It is short and easy to read and the footnotes are hilarious. It begins at the dawn of time with Prometheus, who is chained to a rock because he brought fire to humankind. Theus, for short, was a titan and Zeus, the king of the Gods, made sure that he never forgot what he did. Every morning while chained to the rock, a fury would come and tear out his liver. Of course by nightfall Theus would be alive again. Well, when we start the story, Hercules has arrived and helped Theus escape. Zeus discovers this and challenges Theus to find a hero among the humans. If he does he will be forgiven. Theus sets out and crosses time to 1858 and lands in the murky city known as Eden City. Eden City is very Dickens-like. It is full of zany characters, poor people, rich fiends, and thrilling situations. There Theus meets Jim, an orphan, who has fallen in with a diabolical thief, Uncle Edward. He gets involved with their caper and within twenty-four hours all of the characters lives have changed for the better. Terry Deary, while teaching about Greek mythology, has written a story that is exciting and funny -- which is a wonderful combination. This is the first of three books in THE FIRE THIEF series, and I need to go finish the second one. Go pick up a copy of THE FIRE THIEF. You won't be sorry. **Reviewed by: Marta Morrison