Beyond The Bitter Sea
Life is like a river, changing course when least expected. Slowly drifting down the Euphrates River on a reed raft, a young Babylonian man named Gil has escaped an indentured servitude and is on a quest to find his father. His father had failed to return from a trading voyage with goods promised to the Babylonian merchants who financed his trip. According to Babylonian law, Gil was placed to labor in a brickyard and his family was now in jeopardy. Pursued by the henchmen of the merchants, Gil reaches the sea and finds himself caught by the raging waters of a sudden storm and pushed into the expanse of the Persian Gulf. Nearly losing his life, he awakens on an outpost island of the ancient trading center of Dilmun where he meets a merchant seaman from the Mesopotamian city of Ur. With the help of the seaman Gil arrives in Dilmun only to learn that pirates have captured his father. With no resources, Gil cannot continue the search. A seaman named Ea-Nazer takes pity on Gil and decides to help him find his father. An old navigator from Dilmun named Abd Manaf who knows the waters that they will be sailing offers to aid in the search and joins the crew. Sailing through the Straits of Hormuz they enter into the expanse of the Arabian Sea and cross to the coast of ancient Sindh. Gil and his new companions are drawn into an adventure that will lead them to encounters with pirates, the people of Sindh, India, Ancient Sri Lanka and stormy seas.
As the story develops, it weaves a rich tapestry of adventure and of life in the 6th century BC. Gil successfully finds his father, only to lose him to the ravages of fever. Now he knows he can never return to Babylon. He is a wanted man. He will never again be able to hold his true love Amata in his arms. In order to create a new life for himself using the lessons learned by his father’s side, he begins trading goods along the coast of Sindh. With success his life again has meaning. Although he still occasionally worries about those he left behind in Babylon, he is content.
After many years of coastal trading, he is approached by a young Sindhi woman who is the cousin of a crewman that he dismissed for dishonesty. She asks him to help locate her father on the island of Sri Lanka and retrieve a treasure that her father has found. The beautiful and feisty Aditi assures Gil that her cousin Ashoka regrets his actions and has recommended Gil for his seamanship and honesty. Gil is hesitant but is intrigued with Aditi and her story. After consulting his crew he agrees to the trip and sets sail toward the tip of the Indian subcontinent and the mysterious island country of Sri Lanka.
This is a tale of friendships gained and lost, of love and new beginnings. Gil’s old world crumbles and his new world develops into a life that fulfills him.
BEYOND THE BITTER SEA
Beyond the Bitter Sea—J. G. Knott
In 563 BC a Babylonian merchant sets sail down the Euphrates River to the ancient island of Dilmun. When the merchant Osadrum fails to return to Babylon, the financial backers of his voyage use the laws of Babylon to place his son Gil into indentured servitude. Fearing for the wellbeing of his younger brother, sister and aunt, Gil escapes from the brickyard and sets off on a voyage to search for his father and save his family from ruin. As the story unfolds from Babylon to the coast of ancient India, the reader returns periodically to watch the slow decline of the Akkadian Babylon Empire. It is a rousing tale of adventure and love, taking place on both land and sea and set against a historical background.