Helen Scales

Book signing by Ria Mishaal

Poseidon's Steed

Welcome to my story of seahorses

My first book is about a most peculiar and much-loved group of animals: the seahorses. The biography of seahorses, if you like. It’s a blend of popular science, history, mythology, literature, and archaeology that traces a journey above and beneath the waves in pursuit of the elusive sea creatures that have captured the human imagination for thousands of years.

Poseidon’s Steed was published by Gotham Books (Penguin Group) in 2009 in hardback and in 2010 in paperback.

Seahorses on the radio

I’ve talked about seahorses and Poseidon’s Steed on a host of radio shows in the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK. Here are clips from a few of them: [mp3-jplayer tracks="Diane Rehm Show-NPR@DRS_11.mp3, Leonard Lopate Show-WNYC@LLS_11.mp3, Late Night Live-ABC Radio National@LNL_11.mp3"]

A few reviews

‘Each chapter is a perfect blend of past and present, fact and whimsy’  Globe and Mail

‘A nuanced & thoughtful analysis’  National Geographic

‘In this fascinating book Helen Scales, an aptly named marine biologist, explains the myth, biology & ecology of what the Victorians called queer fish’  The Economist

‘Elegant & engaging’  Natural History Magazine

‘This is one charming book about one charming fish’  Booklist

‘Against every expectation, her attentive scientific descriptions show these sea-drifting enigmas to be even more wondrous than we previously thought’  Barnes & Nobel Recommends

The making of…

Some photos I took while researching & writing the book including trips to Belize, Vietnam, and the Orkney Islands.

800true thumbnails under 500true true 1000http://helenscales.com/wp-content/plugins/thethe-image-slider/style/skins/white-rounded
  • 6000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    Ambergris Cay mural
    View of Ambergris Cay, Belize, from the air
  • 6000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    Ambergris Cay mural
    On Ambergris Cay I found seahorses above and below the waves.
  • 6000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    Seahorse tour poster
    Tours to visit some of Belize's underwater wildlife.
  • 6000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    Pink Fish
    Colourful fishy on Ambergris Cay, Belize.
  • 8000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    Seahorse in a jar
    Touring the mangrove-fringed cays of Belize, proof is found that seahorses are real animals & not just fairy tales.
  • 6000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    vicky house
    A lovely Belizean house, borrowed from a friend, where I wrote much of chapter 6.
  • 6000 fade true 40 top 0
    Ribbonned pipefish
    Ribonned pipefish at Tennessee Aquarium. The inspiration - perhaps - for the Rainbow Serpent.
  • 6000 fade true 40 top 0
    Tank of baby seahorses
    Tank of baby seahorses at Tennessee Aquarium.
  • 6000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    Nha Trang
    Trawling boats at the Vietnamese city of Nha Trang.
  • 6000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    South China Sea
    Motoring out for a night on the South China Sea on a Vietnamese trawler. Will we catch any seahorses?
  • 5000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    Onboard a Vietnamese trawl boat, an octopus makes a break for the side.
  • 6000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    seahorse stamp
    Vietnam celebrates one of its smaller, coastal residents on a postage stamp.
  • 6000 fade true 40 top 0
    Live dead seahorses
    Dead and live seahorses on sale in a traditional medicine store in Vietnam.
  • 6000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    Horse knocker
    Greeting me at the front door of a guest house I stayed at in the Orkneys.
  • 5000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    You can just make out the curving outline of a Pictish seahorse on the Maidenstone in Scotland.
  • 5000 fade true 40 bottom 0
    Books arrive
    The hardbacks arrive!