The Legend of Perseus — the cover

The blurb originally intended for the back cover was as follows:

Zeus located the dungeon in the king's court, and finding a woman imprisoned within it, rushed inside, electrifying the air with the sort of sexual power that only a god or a famous minstrel group can produce.

'I am Zeus!' he said in a commanding voice, taking on the shape of a cluster of coins. 'Close your eyes, mortal woman, and feel the divine presence!'

A golden light emanated from him, and with this light he realised, with a shock, that he had come to the wrong cell. It was Dana๋, the king's daughter, and not the gorgeous adulteress!

Not finding Dana๋ especially attractive, he departed immediately.

So Perseus was not the son of Zeus after all!

He thought he was, though, and Olympus, what a lot of trouble that got him into ... being sent all around the ancient world on ridiculous heroic missions just so that the gods could get him killed.

A man pitted against impossible odds ... but he survives! His descendants become the Persian nation. How?

Here at last is the truth. Thanks to the discovery of ancient manuscripts pertaining to the myth by the authors last summer while on holiday in Corfu, it is at last possible to tell the legend of Perseus as it really happened; and as we do, an astonishingly detailed and convincing picture of life in the Mythological Period emerges.

'A work of considerable scholarship' — The Sunday Sport

'Exhibits standards of truthfulness that we envy' — The Sun

'Finger lickin' good' — Colonel Sanders

(NB he may have been talking about something else)

'Completely brilliant' — Chris Oakley

'This is the sort of book for which one can only say this — buy it !'

— Gregory Klyve

'We regret that we have not read it' — The Times Literary Supplement

This was unfortunately too long, so a shortened version appeared on the first cover:

First attempt at cover

This first attempt at a cover was a combination of an illustration done by my mother, pieces of text that I had assembled myself on the computer, and a bar code film obtained from an agent in Reading. The executive at Richard Clay (the printers) in Suffolk suggested that I look at proofs before they went ahead with the printing. This was a good move as it is clear that the text is virtually illegible against the coloured background.

I therefore changed the design to the one below:

First printed cover

10,104 copies of the book were printed with this cover in May 1989. Despite the serious attempt to be lurid, the book had a habit of getting lost in a display, and without connections in the media to tell the public about it we were relying a lot on impulse buying, which tended not to happen. As a result the 9,400 remaining copies were given the black-and-white Hunt Emerson cover in October 1990. It did seem to do the trick ... I sold about 1,000 just by peddling directly  to bookshops in the last quarter of 1992 (while I was "between jobs"), of which less than 50 got returned. To date, 2,000 have been sold to bookshops. 5,000 were taken to the tip about 1994 and about 2,000 remain in my garage. If the book takes off, well, I will just have to reprint.