In his first work of nonfiction, the creator of the multimillion-selling Jack Reacher series explores the endurance of heroes from Achilles to Bond, showing us how this age-old myth is a fundamental part of what makes us human. He demonstrates how hero stories continue to shape our world – arguing that we need them now more than ever.
From the Stone Age to the Greek Tragedies, from Shakespeare to Robin Hood, we have always had our heroes. The hero is at the centre of formative myths in every culture and persists to this day in world-conquering books, films and TV shows. But why do these characters continue to inspire us, and why are they so central to storytelling?
Scalpel-sharp on the roots of storytelling and enlightening on the history and science of myth, The Hero is essential reading for anyone trying to write or understand fiction. Child teaches us how these stories still shape our minds and behaviour in an increasingly confusing modern world, and with his trademark concision and wit, demonstrates that however civilised we get, we'll always need heroes.
Lee Child was born in 1954 in Coventry, England, but spent his formative years in the nearby city of Birmingham. By coincidence he won a scholarship to the same high school that JRR Tolkien had attended. He went to law school in Sheffield, England, and after part-time work in the theatre he joined Granada Television in Manchester for what turned out to be an eighteen-year career as a presentation director during British TV's "golden age." During his tenure his company made Brideshead Revisited, The Jewel in the Crown, Prime Suspect, and Cracker.
But he was fired in 1995 at the age of 40 as a result of corporate restructuring. Always a voracious reader, he decided to see an opportunity where others might have seen a crisis and bought six dollars' worth of paper and pencils and sat down to write a book, Killing Floor, the first in the Jack Reacher series. Killing Floor was an immediate success and launched the series which has grown in sales and impact with every new instalment.
Lee has three homes - an apartment in Manhattan, a country house in the south of France, and whatever air-plane cabin he happens to be in while travelling between the two. In the US he drives a supercharged Jaguar, which was built in Jaguar's Browns Lane plant, thirty yards from the hospital in which he was born.
Lee spends his spare time reading, listening to music, and watching the Yankees, Aston Villa, or Marseilles soccer. He is married with a grown-up daughter. He is tall and slim, despite an appalling diet and a refusal to exercise.