Book 1, Genesis
Everyone who survived the Trojan war and the sailing from Troy, is safely home now, all except Odysseus. He is being held captive by the Goddess Calypso. Athena is the most supportive of allowing Odysseus to return home and she urges the other gods to do so. Because Odysseus killed Polyphemus, Poseidon is the most against allowing Odysseus to return home. Athena decides to go to Ithica to put some spirit in Telemachus. She disguised herself as Mentes and visited Telemachus. He explains his troubles with the suitors and she tells him of how his father is alive and what he must do. She gives him courage which allows him to establish himself as the man of the home, and to begin working against the suitors by trying to find his father.
Book 2, The Birdies and the Badmen
Odysseus’s son wakes up and calls a big meeting which is the first one since Odysseus had left. The meeting had no news about the army’s return but about the suitors in that were after Telemachus’s mother and eating them out of house and home. Telemachus blames everyone else for what these suitors are doing. Antinous tells Telemachus that his mother is actually the one to blame since she has been deceiving everyone with her weavings. Telemachus was enraged and wished for Zeus to kill everyone in there; which then Zeus sent two eagles but they hadn’t killed anyone and just left. An old man had said it was a prophesy that Odysseus was coming back but nobody would listen to him.
Book 3, The Nest of Nestor
Book 3 takes place in the palace of King Nestor, of Pylos, here Telemachus and gang learn more of his father. Telemachus and Mentor (who is actually Athena) land on the shores of Pylos to see Nestor and his people giving sacrifices on their shores. Here Nestor welcomes Telemachus and his crew and asks them to join them for the feast. Telemachus, mentor, and crew agree and stay and do their part in the sacrifices. Telemachus, who doesn’t mean to intrude, asks Nestor for word of his father, Nestor tells the tale of the great argument of Agamemnon and Menelaus over sacrificing or leaving. Then he tells of the part where he and Odysseus get separated at sea and Nestor doesn’t really hear of him again, BUT he does mention that Menelaus of Sparta would know a WHOLE lot more than him on the whereabouts of his father.
Book 4, A Good Time in Sparta
Book 4 starts with Telemachus coming into Sparta and meeting Menelaus and Helen. Telemachus listens to Menelaus’s story about how after the war he wandered for eight years before coming home. He went to many different countries including Cyprus, Phoenicia, and Egypt. At Egypt, he met the Old Man of the Sea, Proetus, who he had to capture to get off of an island. The suitors then learn that Telemachus is making a departure for home and make a plan to kill him. They decide to wait at a rocky island called Asteris. Athena learns of this plot and comforts Penelope by arriving in the form of her sister and telling her that Telemachus will be ok.