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Sea Of Poppies is a master piece by a master storyteller , a cliche I dare say.But, Amitava Ghosh is brilliant storyteller and his story of myriad characters aboard a slave ship carrying indentured laborers from north India (south west Bihar and eastern U.P.), prisoners etc. with a Mulatto as its head and an Opium Trader as the owner brings before before us an era which we feel so far away as to be irrelevant and better be forgotten about. Indeed we had forgotten about them all but the Author brings all the characters alive and makes us relate to them.
As an Indian, this brought before me a forgotten chapter of my History (colonial India) which hitherto had been appluaded for all the British brought to us (English language included) . This book and its characters brought to life the fact how British colonised India and enslave China by supplying Opium (growm in India ) to it. Infact, the novel hints at the buliding up of the First Opium War with China.It might sound anachronistic in present era with freedom as theme but brings forth the fact that economic enslavement can be much more or equally devastating as conquering land.
Besides, the characters are well etched out. Their motives, changes in rhe Indian social system(a Rajah being convicted, a Rajput woman Deeti fleeing with a low-caste Bheema , taboo even in present day India), ruination of local economy (symbolized by the Opium Factory), new opportunities (Gumashta), the prejudices of the era (Mullatto vs. the White ), are well illustrated . The language is fluid and contains enough local dialect words without diluting the fact that narration is in English. English language is being wielded by a magician of words to provide a lyrical picture, a song sung by our ancestors which was lost somewhere in the ether.
The words paint pictures and the novel is graphic enough without descending into a landscape . Rather, the harmony of landscape and players on it is a beautifully done mosaic which covers a huge canvas but is coherent enough to present a vast picture of amazing clarity.
The way the story threads and charaters intertwine makes us feel a part of the voyage. I for one, am definitely looking forward to going forrader on the Voyage and waiting eagerly for the sequel. Cruise along this voyage , not as a pleasure ride but as a ride with history and to experience past so as to have a better perspective on the present and future, to be one with tradition and yet lok at it with all new eyes.
 

Review: Sea of Poppies (Ibis Trilogy #1)

User Review  - Amy - Goodreads

A wonderful adventure story. Think Dickens. Think eight-week series on Masterpiece Theatre. Think Star Wars trilogy, in a way. This has epic characters, richly detailed back stories, good versus evil ... Read full review

Review: Sea of Poppies (Ibis Trilogy #1)

User Review  - Ryanmoth - Goodreads

A great adventure novel and well written. At first I had to adjust to the language. It's about several seperate characters (that later converge)in India in 1838(yay!)at the start of the Opium Wars ... Read full review

Review: Sea of Poppies (Ibis Trilogy #1)

User Review  - Mary - Goodreads

First thing for a historical novel is to be a good novel and this one is very good. Then it needs to interesting history as well and this one is a great look at time and culture I didn't know much ... Read full review

Review: Sea of Poppies (Ibis Trilogy #1)

User Review  - William Ramsay - Goodreads

This is a great novel. It's what I would call an 'old fashioned' novel - lots of characters, lots of plots and subplots, great description, a darn good story, and great writing to hold it all together ... Read full review

Review: Sea of Poppies (Ibis Trilogy #1)

User Review  - jordan - Goodreads

To say that Amitav Ghosh's “Sea of Poppies” is well written would be to miss the extraordinary whole of this transportive novel. More than a work of historical fiction that tells the reader about a ... Read full review


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