Michael Wood goes in search of four of the most famous myths in the world: Shangri-la, the Golden Fleece, the Queen of Sheba, and the Holy Grail. These four romantic journeys take him to some of the remotest and most exciting places on earth including Western Tibet, the mountains of Georgia and the Caucasus, the plains of Southern Iraq, to the coasts of Ethiopia Yemen and the Horn of Africa. Michael asks the question: why do such legends still captivate us today? Over the last twenty years, from In Search of the Trojan War to his epic journeys in the footsteps of Alexander the Great and the Conquistadors, Michael Wood has taken the TV audience, and the reader, on romantic and compelling journeys into the past. In his new series and book In Search of Myths and Heroes he goes in search of four of the most famous myths in the world: Shangri-la, the Golden Fleece, the Queen of Sheba, and the Holy Grail. The journeys take him to some of the remotest and most exciting places on earth - to the fantastic landscapes of Western Tibet, to the mountains of Georgia and the Caucasus, to the plains of Southern Iraq, and to the coasts of Ethiopia Yemen and the Horn of Africa.
The stories will also take in Greece and Turkey, India and Nepal, Egypt and Israel, and the world of Celtic Britain and the West of Ireland: What is the truth behind the medieval Indian legend of a lost civilisation behind the western Himalayas - a place where the ancient wisdom of humanity was preserved to save it from our future? The legend was immortalised in James Hilton s novel about Shangri-la, and by Hollywood in Frank Capra s movie Lost Horizon. But why do such legends still captivate us today? And was there a real Shangri-la? What lies behind the Bible story of the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon, and the Ark of the Covenant? The tale is found in both the Jewish Bible and the Muslim Koran, and the Queen of Sheba is still revered today in the sacred books of the Ethiopians, who claim her as the founder of their nation: but who was she? And why was the trade route from the Holy Land and Egypt to the Horn of Africa so important to the ancients? Where does the ancient Greek legend of Jason s search for the Golden Fleece come from? The tale is the ultimate quest, older even than Homer s Iliad and Odyssey.
But was there really an expedition beyond the limits of the known world back in the mists of prehistory, before the Trojan War? And why is the hero s quest one of the core human stories, from the first literature on earth, to the latest Hollywood epic? What was the Holy Grail? How did the search for this ultimate religious symbol come to be connected with Arthur, the once and future king? Was there a real Grail? A real King Arthur? And why does the quest for the Grail, still obsess us even today, from New Agers and mystics to Monty Python and Indiana Jones? Illustrated with a wonderful series of specially commissioned photographs by the Himalayan author, photographer and mountaineer Steve Razzetti, Great Mysteries is at once a book of great journeys, a historical adventure, and an exploration of some of humanity s most enduring myths.
Michael Wood was born in Manchester and educated at Manchester Grammar School and Oriel College, Oxford, where he did post-graduate research in Anglo-Saxon history. A broadcaster and film-maker, he is the author of several highly praised books on English history, including In Search of the Dark Ages, Domesday and recently In Search of England. He has over eight documentary films to his name, including Art of the Western World, Legacy, In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great and the highly acclaimed Conquistadors. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.