Cover image for Jason and the Gorgon's blood
Jason and the Gorgon's blood
Yolen, Jane.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
[New York] : HarperCollins, 2004.
Physical Description:
246 pages ; 22 cm.
Jason, who will grow up to become the head of the Argonauts, leads five other boys on a dangerous quest to save the kingdom of Iolcus, learning along the way what it means to be in command.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.1 8.0 76138.
Added Author:

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J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Jason is a young warrior in training -- and yet there's more to him than his simple appearance might suggest. Raised by the wise centaur Chiron and believing himself an orphan, Jason discovers that his true identity is not the only secret his guardian has been keeping. What he learns sends Jason and five of Chiron's other apprentices on a dangerous journey to save the kingdom of Iolcus from a horrible fate. In a daring race against time, Jason and his companions must bridge yawning chasms, battle vicious harpies, navigate their way down treacherous rapids, and outsmart marauding centaurs. Surpris-ingly, Jason's greatest challenge comes from within, for becoming a great leader proves to be the most difficult task of all. In another thrilling adventure that imagines Greek heroes as young men and women, Jane Yolen and Robert J. Harris explore the early years of Jason, before he led the Argonauts on one of the most famous quests in Greek mythology.

Author Notes

Jane Yolen was born February 11, 1939 in New York City. She received a bachelor's degree from Smith College in 1960 and a master's degree in education from the University of Massachusetts in 1976. After college, she became an editor in New York City and wrote during her lunch break. She sold her first children's book, Pirates in Petticoats, at the age of 22. Since then, she has written over 300 books for children, young adults, and adults.

Her other works include the Emperor and the Kite, Owl Moon, How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and The Devil's Arithmetic. She has won numerous awards including the Kerlan Award, the Regina Medal, the Keene State Children's Literature Award, the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, two Christopher Medals, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards, the Golden Kite Award, the Jewish Book Award, the World Fantasy Association's Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Association of Jewish Libraries Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-6. In the newest episode of the Young Heroes series,ason turns a hostile, arrogant princeling into an ally while leading a contentious group of schoolmates over rugged mountains to recover jugs of Gorgon's Blood stolen from his wise mentor, Chiron. The journey not only brings on a nonstop cascade of literal and figurative cliffhangers, punctuated by encounters with harpies, a goddess, and brutish centaurs, but also challengesason to exercise all of the qualities of a good leader: courage, quick wit, persuasiveness, the ability to bring out the best in his companions, and a (sometimes reluctant) willingness to swallow both doubts and pride. As in previous series titles, the dialogue can be wooden (Is that all you think of yourself? A worthless orphan? Have I not taught you to take pride in your skills and talents? ), but the learning to be a leader theme folds seamlessly into the action, and, as explained in an afterword, the authors stay close to classical sources in portraying both mortal and immortal characters. --John Peters Copyright 2004 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-Jason (of the Argonauts) is a famous hero and his later exploits may be familiar to readers. This, though, is the story of his life as a boy-one that Yolen and Harris have imagined, based on other Greek tales. Jason and his fellow apprentices are catapulted into a dangerous quest when the evil centaur Nessus steals the Gorgon's blood from their mentor, Chiron. Just before they leave on their adventure, Jason learns that he is the son of the rightful king-but so does the son of the imposter king; this little bit of information is the source of tension and intrigue. There is plenty of action to keep mythology enthusiasts happy, and the band of angry and violent centaurs and attacks by hungry harpies could convert new fans to the genre. This entry in the series does not disappoint, though the themes that heroes are made when they are young and that strength of character is all-important are a bit more heavy-handed in this title than in others. Still, these messages do not get in the way of a fine story.-Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Jason and the Gorgon's Blood Chapter One A Matter of Pigs The centaur was angrier than Jason had ever seen him before. He was so angry, he didn't just stamp his hooves and make the earth shake like a drum or roar till all the caves of Mount Pelion echoed with the sound. No, he was far too angry for that. He lined up the six boys and paced up and down before them in threatening silence, his hooves padding softly on the grass, his fists clenching and unclenching in a broken rhythm. His unspoken disapproval was like a heavy boulder pressing down on all of them, and Jason most of all. Especially, Jason thought, because my mouth is so parched and there is a dull throbbing behind my forehead and my limbs ache and I have bumps like small hillocks all over my body. He shook his head to clear it, which just made things worse. Why can't I remember why I feel this way? Something about the night before. A revel? He had never been to a revel before. "Chiron, master . . ." Prince Acastus began. He always used the centaur's title when he wanted to wheedle his way out of trouble. But Chiron was not to be cozened. He was simply too angry. "Silence!" Now he roared, and the sound of his voice shattered a small birch in two. And my head, Jason thought. Prince Acastus was smart enough to shut up, moving back behind his cousin Admetus. Jason wondered who would be the first of the boys to crack. Since Chiron had raised him from infancy, and he was used to the centaur's ways, he knew he would not be the one. But these other boys had been on the mountain for only a matter of weeks, sent by their fathers to be trained as hunters, as warriors, as heroes. Sent to the master of all masters, the burly old centaur who was now pacing so angrily before them. Jason smiled at the thought. As quickly, he stopped smiling. Smiling hurt. At last the centaur halted in front of them and arched an accusing eyebrow. Jason hated that look most of all. It signaled some awful punishment was going to follow. And soon. "Pigs," Chiron said, his voice throbbing and low, like a toothache. "Let us talk about pigs." The centaur was intimidating enough even when he was not angry. With the body of a wild stallion, all sinewy strength and animal speed, crowned by the torso of a heavily muscled man, he radiated raw power. His bearded face had all the majestic grandeur of the mountain that reared up over their heads. "I say 'pigs,' and how do you answer?" Idas, the strongest of the boys, stuck out his chest and set his square jaw in defiance, trying hard to show that he wasn't afraid, but nobody was fooled. They were all afraid of Chiron. Centaurs were, after all, bigger and stronger than any human adult. And unpredictable. Though Chiron was different from the rest of his breed. Different, apart -- and a master teacher. Idas' brother, wiry Lynceus, who swore he could spot an ant crawling up a tree trunk clear across the valley, right now had eyes glazed over in panic, as if he'd gone blind. Tall, gangly Melampus of Pylos had a reputation as a seer. He boasted he could foretell the future by the movements of the birds, and indeed his mind always did seem to be drifting among the clouds. But a single glare from Chiron and he came crashing to earth, taking a nervous step backward. Admetus didn't even attempt to put on a show. His round, freckled face drooped, and he shuffled his feet nervously. Behind him Acastus crossed his arms, trying -- Jason supposed -- to look heroic. Hard to do, Jason thought, while hiding behind someone else. Acastus kept up the charade for almost five whole seconds before bowing his head under Chiron's relentless gaze. Will he be merciful? Jason wondered. He knew Chiron had a tender heart under that brawny chest. How often had he seen the centaur stop to tend an injured bird, splinting a broken wing or applying a healing salve. But do we deserve his mercy? Desperately Jason wished he could remember what it was they had done. Chiron turned his dark-eyed gaze down to the valley below. "I should have known from the sorry state you were in when you dragged yourselves home last night that you had left some sort of trouble behind you." "Home!" Acastus whispered contemptuously to Admetus, though Jason overheard. "What kind of home is a cave in the side of a mountain?" Suddenly Chiron passed behind the boys and without warning swerved his massive body. His rump barged into Acastus, knocking the boy flat on his face. The others began laughing, but one glance from Chiron snuffed out their mirth. "A prince," Chiron said in his teacher voice, "should be noted for the respect he shows others, not his insolence." As Acastus clambered to his feet, Jason thought, He must have forgotten how sharp Chiron's ears are. For an instant, rebellion flickered in the young prince's eyes. Then he lowered his gaze, fixing his eyes on the ground as he fingered the golden amulet that hung around his neck, a symbol of the royal house of Iolcus. "Pigs," Chiron said again. "They did not escape their pen without help. Now whose idea was it to set them loose?" He scowled at them, but no one spoke. "Pigs!" Chiron boomed. Another tree on the edge of the clearing shivered, lost its leaves. Silence fell again like a smothering blanket. It was Idas who spoke up at last. "We can't remember," he said sullenly. "Whatever punishment is due, inflict it upon us all equally." "Idas is right," Lynceus chimed in after his brother. "Except maybe for the part about punishment. If you choose to leave me out, I promise not to complain." Jason and the Gorgon's Blood . Copyright © by Jane Yolen. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Jason and the Gorgon's Blood by Jane Yolen, Robert J. Harris All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1 A Matter of Pigsp. 1
2 The Wild Bandp. 13
3 Bad Omensp. 24
4 The Hiding Placep. 34
5 A Matter of Princesp. 45
6 The Tug of a Ropep. 57
7 The Narrow Pathp. 66
8 The Chasmp. 75
9 Onward and Upwardp. 85
10 The Haunted Peaksp. 95
11 Winged Furyp. 103
12 The Storm Breaksp. 111
13 The Anger of Herap. 119
14 The Mountain Wakesp. 129
15 The Valley of Deathp. 138
16 Alcestisp. 148
17 Mount Ossap. 157
18 The Cavernp. 164
19 A Question of Deathp. 175
20 A Matter of Lifep. 183
21 The Challengep. 190
22 The Ferryman's Pricep. 197
23 The Dragon's Mouthp. 205
24 The Lakep. 212
25 The Trailp. 221
26 The Springp. 226
27 Blood and Waterp. 233
What Is True About This Story?p. 243