Sea of Poppies: A Novel

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sep 29, 2009 - Fiction - 528 pages
111 Reviews

At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean; its purpose, to fight China's vicious nineteenth-century Opium Wars. As for the crew, they are a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.

In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a freespirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers. An unlikely dynasty is born, which will span continents, races, and generations.

The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, the exotic backstreets of Canton. But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, that makes Sea of Poppies so breathtakingly alive—a masterpiece from one of the world's finest novelists.

 

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User Review  - NatalieSW - LibraryThing

Enjoyed this very much. I should probably reread River of Smoke before moving on to the final book in the trilogy now that I know some of the characters' backgrounds and see if having read this one ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - oparaxenos - LibraryThing

This book started slowly, but then really engaged me. The dialogue, with all of its archaic English and Indian vocabulary was difficult at first, but gradually I realised it added a certain flavour to the story. This was a real yarn, and I very much look forward to the second novel in the trilogy. Read full review

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About the author (2009)

AMITAV GHOSH is the internationally bestselling author of many works of fiction and nonfiction, including The Glass Palace, and is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. Ghosh divides his time between Kolkata and Goa, India, and Brooklyn, New York.

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