The Wolf-Girl, the Greeks and the Gods: a Tale of the Persian Wars

By Tom Holland

Illustrated by Jason Cockcroft

A blockbuster retelling of the Persian Wars from multi-award-winning author of Rubicon and Persian Fire, lavishly illustrated by Jason Cockcroft.

“The Persians are coming…” Hearing these words, Gorgo of Sparta is plunged into a dangerous world of vengeful gods and invincible heroes. For a mighty empire threatens Athens, Sparta and all who stand in its path... Calling on the ancient power to transform into a wolf and the blood of Zeus that runs through her veins, Gorgo must lead her nation in one of history's greatest wars. Multi-award-winning author Tom Holland and acclaimed illustrator Jason Cockcroft boldly weave myth and history in this dramatic tale of Greeks and Gods.

Categories: Illustrated Classics

For readers aged: 9+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Hardback
  • ISBN: 9781406394740
  • Published: 04 May 2023
  • Price: £25.00
  • Size: 270 x 190 mm
  • Pages: 208

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Customer reviews


'This is the first book for children by the historian and podcaster Tom Holland and, boy, he doesn’t muck about. Straight away, we are thrown into the wild and violent world of myth… Jason Cockcroft’s cinematic illustrations of warriors creeping through forests and Greeks and Persians in battle elevate it into something special.' Children’s books of the year 2023, The Sunday Times

'"A glorious mixture – of history, fiction and thrilling legend, with pictures to swim the Hellespont for."' Sebastian Faulks

'What a fabulous achievement! Not since Mary Renault has this kind of history come so alive and with such juice, energy and excitement. I just know that my twelve-year-old self would have fallen on this like a … like a wolf on a lamb. Breathtaking adventure on every page, and just the kind of detail, colour and vitality that young readers adore. As does this old reader, I have to confess.' Stephen Fry

'The Wolf-Girl, the Greeks and the Gods is a wonder, as beautiful to look at as it is entrancing to read. Jason Cockcroft's illustrations are jaw-dropping, and Tom Holland's prose took me back to my own childhood introductions to these extraordinary mythological worlds in Roger Lancelyn Green's Tales of the Greek Heroes and Leon Garfield's and Charles Keeping's The God Beneath the Sea.' Frank Cottrell-Boyce

'A glorious white-knuckle ride through classical history […] Through her account, Holland retells the key events of the wars, including the battle of Thermopylae, and the Greek victories at Salamis and Plataea; but young readers will be equally gripped by the domestic vignettes, and glimpses into Spartan culture […] Holland’s great skill is in how he interweaves myth and history, such that the lines become ever more blurred. The combination of his lyrical writing and Jason Cockcroft’s plain, haunting illustrations make this a book that any child is likely to remember well into their later years.' Daily Telegraph

'The illustrations by Jason Cockcroft deserve special mention. The Acropolis on fire, nymphs at twilight — the artwork will easily captivate a young reader […] It is pitched at readers aged ten and above, although grandparents are bound to learn things they didn’t know, as indeed will mums and dads […] A clear contender for one of those totemic books whose memory you carry into adulthood. A triumph.' Times

'This spectacular retelling of the Persian invasion of Greece from the perspective of Gorgo, a Spartan queen, marries a numinous sense of classical legend with accounts of Spartan training, warfare and sacrifice. Cockcroft’s stark, bold illustrations amplify the sense of wonder rooted in strange […] A tour de force for mythology and military history fans' Guardian

'A rip-roaring, adrenaline-filled recounting of the infamous Persian wars against Greek city states, and blends historical facts with a seasoning of Greek gods and mythology to produce a gripping and educational volume. […] Gorgeously illustrated.' The Daily Mail

'A spectacularly illustrated account of the Persian Wars, based on history, but involving the immortals. With two young protagonists, the Spartan princess Gorgo and the Athenian Themistocles, this is a must-have for any child who loves Greek myths.' Sunday Times

'A fabulous retelling of the Persian invasion of Greece for 9-12s. Marrying the perspective of Gorgo, a Spartan queen, with meticulous accounts of military training, religion and magic, it’s amplified by Jason Cockcroft’s dramatic illustrations. Holland writes like a turbo-charged Mary Renault, and his book will be irresistible to those with warlike temperaments.' New Statesman

'For anyone wondering what the gods did after the end of the Trojan War – transporting and wonderful.'

'Tom Holland's masterly interweaving of myth, imagination and deep classical learning makes this an extraordinary treat ... Jason's illustrations are also magnificent, packed with talent and sensitivity ... It reminded me of my own favourite childhood books of Greek myth and The Iliad.' Amanda Craig

'A great gift for myth-obsessed readers, and highly recommended for school libraries, Tom Holland’s The Wolf-Girl, the Greeks and the Gods: a Tale of the Persian Wars presents an epic tale of otherworldly gods and human heroes and heroines, superbly enhanced by Jason Cockcroft’s stylishly dramatic illustrations.' Lovereading4kids

'This is a pacey story that keeps one’s bottom firmly planted on the edge of the proverbial seat [...] This truly is a Children’s Classic and is highly recommended by Imagining History to those seeking to learn about the Persian Wars; as well as to discover Ancient Greek history, mythology, and beliefs.' Imagining History

'This definitely makes a perfect present for anyone interested in Greek myths and historical retellings.' United by Pop

'The Wolf-Girl, the Greeks and the Gods definitely has the feel of a contemporary classic. Could it be one of those collections of myths that appear on prize shortlists, a book children will encounter with pleasure and remember for the rest of their lives? I think it might well be.' Books for Keeps

'Tom Holland expertly weaves myth and history in a compelling and dramatic retelling of Herodotus. Jason Cockcroft’s artwork boldly evokes vast ancient landscapes, mighty battles and enthralling tales of Greeks and gods.' ACHUKA

'Tom Holland and Jason Cockcroft have created a beautiful book. […] Cockcroft’s illustrations are expectedly brilliant. Dark, broody and magical – like the written material. […] A lovely introduction to both the legends and the legendary stories of the Persian Wars.' Just Imagine

'Tom Holland and Jason Cockcroft have created a beautiful book. […] Cockcroft’s illustrations are expectedly brilliant. Dark, broody and magical – like the written material. […] A lovely introduction to both the legends and the legendary stories of the Persian Wars.' Just Imagine

'Stories of adversity and myth are reflected in emotive illustrations, creating an immersive reading experience until the last page. Tom Holland and Jason Cockcroft have crafted an approachable tale of transformation and resilience set during a grueling time in history, ideal for curious readers.' Reading Matters Guide

'The Wolf-Girl, the Greeks and the Gods by Tom Holland is one of the gems.' Children’s books of the year 2023, The Daily Telegraph

'Olympian gods and historical episodes are interwoven skillfully and produce a riveting read.' English 4-11

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