Myths And Legends: Sinbad The Sailor by Phil Masters. Book review

MYTHS AND LEGENDS: SINBAD THE SAILOR by Phil Masters, Osprey Adventures, p/b, £10.99,

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Many remember the tales of Sinbad the Sailor from the Arabian Nights. The Arabian Nights or 1001 Nights is a collection of stories recounted by a woman called Scherazade who was trapped in a Caliph’s palace. Scherazade told these stories each night to the Caliph so that she may live to see another day and with the hope of escaping execution. The reason for his sadness and anger toward women is that he had been cheated on by one of his wives, so he wed again each time having the women executed the next day to punish his cheating wives memory.

In the Arabian Nights, Sinbad’s voyages form a large part of the book. His voyages totalling a series of seven of which he tells to Sinbad the Porter, a man who though bearing the same name does not share the same fate of being rich, loved and worldly wise. He tells these stories to get Sinbad the Porter to understand how he could be a part of his life, and that for all his wealth he had several struggles to get where he is now. The First Voyage: Living Islands and Sea Horses, The Second Voyage: The Flight of the Roc, The Third Voyage: Evil Apes and Man-Eating Giants, The Fourth Voyage: Cannibals and Caves of Terror, The Fifth Voyage: Rocs, Again and, The Old Man of the Sea, The Sixth Voyage: The River of Gems, and the Seventh Voyage: The Land of Winged Men.

Masters is more interested in being about to trace the stories back to medieval times where Sinbad isn’t the only one to mistake a giant fish for an island, St. Brendan, an Irish monk was said to have had a similar encounter in the Atlantic. He uses Sinbad as an educational tool for both young and older readers who were ever intrigued by his exploits around the Middle-East. The book has details of all seven voyages with full colour illustrations by aRU-MOR, an artist from Spain whose work captures the spirit of Sinbad and his striving for exceptional adventures. This book in the myths and legends series contains all the characters and monsters from the voyages, the Roc, or Rukh, a mythical bird similar to the ostrich, giant serpents, the Cyclops, winged men and the old man of the sea. Masters pays special attention to the old man of the sea, his origins, place in the voyages and a clue as to who he might have been. His appearance of being old and frail changes once he is carried on Sinbad’s back during the story. It is an example of teaching people not to take others at face value or take pity on someone without cause.

The final chapter deals exclusively with the movies made about the voyages of Sinbad by actors such as John Philip Law fromThe Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. from Sinbad the Sailor and Patrick Wayne (son of Western actor John Wayne) from Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger. The movies don’t stop there as an animated one, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas was released starring the voice acting talents of Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michelle Pfieffer. This forms part of the Osprey Adventures series that can be recommended to those who enjoy all types of myths and legends from around the world.