In ancient Greek mythology Atlas, a member of the original race of gods called Titans, leads a rebellion against the new deities, the Olympians. For this he incurs divine wrath: the victorious Olympians force Atlas, guardian of the Garden of Hesperides and its golden apples of life, to bear the weight of the earth and the heavens for eternity.
When the hero Heracles, as one of his famous twelve labors, is tasked with stealing these apples he seeks out Atlas, offering to shoulder the world temporarily if the Titan will bring him the fruit. Knowing that Heracles is the only person with the strength to take his burden, and enticed by the prospect of even a short-lived freedom, Atlas agrees and an uneasy partnership is born.
With her typical wit and verve, Jeanette Winterson brings Atlas into the twenty-first century. Simultaneously, she asks her own difficult questions about the nature of choice and coercion, and how we forge our own destiny. Visionary and inventive, yet completely believable and relevant to our lives today, Winterson's skill in turning the familiar on its head and showing us a different truth is once more put to dazzling effect.