Milad – The Voyage to Ophir, by Nazam Anhar

‘A storm is coming,’ said the old navigator Hakim.
Milad stood beside him on the deck, feeling the rising wind blow against his face and tousle his hair. The twelve ships of the fleet were drawn out in a long line. Their sails lowered, they rowed slowly through the strait to avoid the treacherous coral reefs below the surface.

Milad has finally convinced his parents to allow him one voyage to sea as a sailor. After that he is to return home to the wheat farm his family run. So begins an adventure greater than anything he has imagined or dreamed about. Milad joins a great Phoenecian fleet about to embark on a great journey to seek treasures to bring to King Solomon. He makes friends with Hakim, an experienced and well-regarded navigator. It is from him that Milad learns many of the skills needed to be a good sailor. They travel towards Ophir in Africa. Renowned sailors though they are, there are others on the ocean. Long before they reach their destination they are attacked by Kallabos, a cunning and tenacious Greek pirate.

Milad: The Voyage to Ophir is set at the time of King Solomon’s reign. Nazam Anhar weaves history and adventure in this exciting novel about a boy’s first journey to sea. Milad, the bright but inexperienced sailor has much to contend with, from a captain who doubts he will ever be of any use, to a stowaway who trusts no one, to Hakim, almost the only one on board who treats him with any dignity. Hakim is teacher, mentor and friend. Battle scenes are detailed, while violence is moderated for the age of the target reader. Along the way, Milad and the reader learn about Phoenician sailors and ships, dangerous coral reefs in the Red Sea, volcanoes in Ethiopia, the power and splendour of the Nile from its dual origins to the wide delta, the building of pyramid, the structure and security of pyramids and much more. There is enough detail to satisfy the curious, enough adventure to excite the explorer and enough detailed skirmishes to satisfy the hungriest of readers. Recommended for mid- to upper primary readers and beyond.

Milad: The Voyage to Ophir, by Nazam Anhar
Scholastic 2008
ISBN: 9781741691153