Young Hercules novels
"I absolutely love this book. I am a big fan of Young Hercules so it wasn't hard to see how well the writer captured the movements and attitudes of the actors. The mixture of jokes and adventure with the serious situation is really intriguing and delightful to any reader."
---Carisa Weeaks, MyShelf.com Teen/Young Adult Reviews
the covers to Cheiron's Warriors and The Ares Alliance

Young Hercules

Cheiron's Warriors
and
The Ares Alliance

by Keith R.A. DeCandido

on sale now from Archway Paperbacks

It all started when Marina insisted I watch Hercules: The Legendary Journeys with her one Saturday night. It was the night that the show's second season debuted, to be followed by the first episode of Xena: Warrior Princess. For over a year, I'd been resisting the Herc temptation, despite Marina's assurances that the show was a great deal of fun.

So I sat and watched "King of Thieves," the episode that introduced Autolycus. I was, to say the least, hooked. I then watched the first Xena episode, and got hooked on that, too.

Naturally, when the spinoff Young Hercules debuted in 1998, I had to watch it. But I got to go one better than that -- I was hired by Archway Paperbacks to write the first two original YH novels. The novel program began with a novelization of the pilot movie (which aired on the Fox Family Channel in the fall of 1998 and is now available on video) by Mel Odom in July 1999. That was followed by my two novels: Cheiron's Warriors and The Ares Alliance, which were published in September and December of '99.

Writing these books was an absolute blast for several reasons. For one thing, you couldn't ask for a better editor than Anne Greenberg. For another, I have been given free reign to be just as goofy as the show is -- and let's face it, what's the point of working in the "Xenaverse," as it's called, unless you can be completely goofy -- while getting the chance to broaden the horizons of a show that is limited by a budget and a tight production schedule.

In Cheiron's Warriors, the headmaster of the Academy, Cheiron, is kidnapped, along with eleven other centaurs, in an attempt by Ares to start a war between Corinth and the Centaur Nation. While Jason is forced to try to negotiate a peace with a cranky centaur envoy, Hercules, Iolaus, and Lilith have to try to find Cheiron and the other centaurs and free them. The story sees the trio sailing on an ocean voyage, and travelling to a remote island where they have to deal with surly slavers and poisonous sea serpents -- not to mention Strife, Discord, and Graegus, the vicious dog of war.

The Ares Alliance goes even further afield: Yoruba (modern-day Nigeria). Ogun, the Yoruban god of war, fire, and iron, has kidnapped Cyane's Amazon tribe, and Hercules (who befriended Cyane and her people) and Ares (who is the tribe's Olympian protector) must reluctantly join forces in order to rescue the Amazons from Ogun's clutches. The climax has Herc and Ares forced to fight side by side against a couple of pretty vicious monsters. You can read an excerpt from Chapter 2 of the novel.

The best part about writing these books, really, were Ares and Iolaus. They're my favorite characters on the screen (on both Young Hercules and Hercules), and they're a great deal of fun to write, as well. I endeavored mightily to make sure that all the dialogue sounded like it was coming from the actors' mouths, and I think you'll hear their voices when you read the books.

You can order Cheiron's Warriors and The Ares Alliance from the good folks at Amazon.com. You can also read an interview with me at Whoosh! about these books. Enjoy!

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