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River of Smoke

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The Ibis, loaded to its gunwales with a cargo of indentured servants, is in the grip of a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal; among the dozens flailing for survival are Neel, the pampered raja who has been convicted of embezzlement; Paulette, the French orphan masquerading as a deck hand; and Deeti, the widowed poppy grower fleeing her home­land with her lover, Kalua. The storm also threatens the clipper ship Anahita, groaning with the largest consignment of opium ever to leave India for Canton. And the Redruth, a nursery ship, carries “Fitcher” Penrose, a horticulturist determined to track down the priceless treasures of China that are hidden in plain sight: plants that have the power to heal, or beautify, or intoxicate. All will converge in Canton’s Fanqui-Town, or For­eign Enclave: a tumultuous world unto it­self where civilizations clash and sometimes fuse. It is a powder keg awaiting a spark to ignite the Opium Wars.

Spectacular coincidences, startling re­versals of fortune, and tender love stories abound. But this is much more than an irresistible page-turner. The blind quest for money, the primacy of the drug trade, the concealment of base impulses behind the rhetoric of freedom: in River of Smoke the nineteenth and twenty-first centuries meet, and the result is a consuming historical novel with powerful contemporary reso­nance. Critics praised Sea of Poppies for its vibrant storytelling, antic humor, and rich narrative scope; now Amitav Ghosh con­tinues the epic that has charmed and com­pelled readers all over the globe.

Praise for Sea Of Poppies:

'Deeply and persuasively grounded in the great tradition of story-telling...Ghosh has written several acclaimed novels before but sea of poppies is indisputably the finest and most enjoyable work from his pen yet. When the Ibis trilogy is written, it will be no surprise if it goes down as a classic, not just of Indian writing in English but of modern fiction.' - The Hindu

''Rich and panoramic, Amitav ghosh's latest novel sees (him) on masterly form...sea of poppies is a spawling adventure with a cst of hundreds and numerous intricate stories encompassing poverty and eiches, despair and hope, and the long-gingered reach of the opium trade...Lustrous'  - The Economist

''This is a barnstrormer of a book. When it nds and you're done wiping your palms and your brow, you'll give thanks that it's only the first instalment in a trilogy which means that there's more to come  - Time out (Mumbai)

The seaboard sectionsrival those of melville and Conard. but the scenses ashore are equally gripping and one leaves this long page-turner wishing it zould continune...(The) '' Ibis trilogywill surely come to be regarded as one of the masterpieces of twenty-first-centurey fiction.  - The Literary Review

River of Smoke

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Additional Information

Amitav Ghosh
Publisher Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN ISBN: 978-0-670-08215-5, 9780670082155
Size Demy 1/8
Pages 750+