The Odyssey (Greek: Ὀδύσσεια, Odýsseia) is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second oldest extant work of Western literature, the Iliad being the oldest. It is believed to have been composed near the end of the 8th century BC, somewhere in Ionia, the Greek coastal region of Anatolia.
The poem mainly centers on the Greek hero Odysseus (known as Ulysses in Roman myths) and his journey home after the fall of Troy. It takes Odysseus ten years to reach Ithaca after the ten-year Trojan War. In his absence, it is assumed he has died, and his wife Penelope and son Telemachus must deal with a group of unruly suitors, the Mnesteres (Greek: Μνηστῆρες) or Proci, who compete for Penelope's hand in marriage.
British actor Stevens of Downton Abbey fame brings Homer's epic poem to life with this well-executed reading of the classic tale of the Greek hero Odysseus and his 10-year journey home. When Odysseus is presumed dead after the Trojan War, his wife, Penelope, is awash with suitors looking to court her and in turn take over the land. While Penelope stalls the persistent suitors, her husband is cursed to wander the seas encountering all manner of mythical beings and even the gods, who all play their part in helping, or mostly hindering, the hero in his quest to find home. Stevens, with a cool, unmannered delivery, brings a modern vocal interpretation to his performance, making this ancient poem engaging to the modern ear and easy to listen to. With his relaxed reading, Stevens proves that this classic poem is definitely not some dry, dusty work of ancient history, but a vibrant exciting story that, like the best tales of adventure, works best when read aloud, as scholars contend it was intended. A Farrar, Straus and Giroux paperback.