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Loyalty has no limits

Raised from a pup by Greek hero, Odysseus, Argos has come to learn the true meaning of love and loyalty. But when Odysseus leaves for the Trojan War, little does Argos know it will be 20 years before he sees his master again. With Odysseus gone his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, are easy prey for neighboring kings and the Gods themselves.

But Argos was tasked to keep them safe until Odysseus returns and that is a promise he is determined to keep – whatever the cost. Told through his eyes, Argos recounts the story of his life – his pain, his joy, his triumphs and failures; his endurance in the face of hardships almost too great to believe.

Above all else, Argos strives to do what is right – and to remain loyal to his King when all others have given up hope. To live long enough to see his beloved master one more time.

This epic myth of love and loyalty proves that a dog really is man’s best friend.

***Disclaimer: I received a copy in exchange for a review.***

In many ways, while this book is pretty much what I expected, it also wasn’t what I expected.

We meet Argos in his last few moments, dying on a pile of refuse and filth.  How he got to this point… well, that’s why we’re here.  His soul is transported to Hades where he and the legendary Cerebus, the three-headed gargantuan hound who guards the entrace to the Underworld, form a bond as unique as they both are.  At Cerebus’ request, Argos relates the story of his life.  A long, strange journey indeed.

Parts of the story felt weird.  At  one point Athena- Odysseus’ patron goddess- grants Argos the ability to see emotions in other dogs as colors: red for anger, green for friendly, etc- and manipulate them.  That was… weird.  Especially since after using it during a particular adventure Argos never employed it again, even when it would’ve helped him greatly as it did then.

Even in its most Lassie-inspired moments, the story doesn’t disappoint.  Athena has decreed that so long as Argos lives his master will be safe.  Knowing what Odysseus endured both during the Trojan War and after, it’s not hard to imagine anyone losing hope that’d he get home again.  But you’re not a dog graced by a god to watch over his master.

I was more fascinated with Cerebus’ portrayal than anything else.  Simpson both humanized and demystified the legendary beast in one fell swoop.  While it was good that Simpson displayed another side of the legend, Cerebus felt diminished a bit by it.

Argos is an enjoyable read for any age, sure to touch your heart at some point- especially if you’re a pet lover.  A solid, fast-paced book.

4/5 stars.

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