Sea of Poppies
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2008
‘Sea of Poppies boasts a varied collection of characters to love and hate, and provides wonderfully detailed descriptions . . . utterly involving and piles on tension until the very last page’ Sunday Times
At the heart of this epic saga, set just before the Opium Wars, is an old slaving-ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its crew a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.
In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a truly diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt Raja to a widowed villager, from an evangelical English opium trader to a mulatto American freedman. 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, and the exotic backstreets of China. But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, which makes Sea of Poppies so breathtakingly alive – a masterpiece from one of the world’s finest novelists.
'Sea of Poppies Boasts a varied collection of characters to love and hate, and provides wonderfully detailed descriptions of opium production ... utterly involving and piles on tension until the very last page' -- Peter Parker, Sunday Times 'A glorious babel of a novel ... marvellously inventive ... utterly involving ... The next volume cannot come too soon' -- Sunday Times 'An utterly involving book' -- Sunday Times 'This is a panoramic adventure story, with a Dickensian energy and scope' -- Sunday Telegraph 'Ghosh's narrative is enriched with a wealth of historical detail ... as well as intricate characterisation that makes interaction among the diverse group truly absorbing' -- The Times 'There can be fewer more exciting settings for a novel than a sea-tossed sailing ship ... Ghosh piles detail upon detail in a rumbustical adventure' -- The Times 'Ripping post-colonial yarn ... Ghosh spins a fine story with a quite irresistible flow, breathing exuberant life ... an absorbing vision' -- Guardian 'A remarkably rich saga' -- Observer 'Each scene is boldly drawn, but it is the sheer energy and verve of Amitav Ghosh's storytelling that binds this ambitious medley' -- Daily Mail 'This is a corker' -- Spectator 'Ghosh turns the ship into something robustly, bawdily and indelibly real ... a plot of Dickensian intricacy' -- New York Times 'A master of fiction' -- Economist 'A richly drawn cast of characters ... gilded with expertly-mined historical detail' -- Sunday Business Post 'The fantastic Anglo-Asian language they speak is infectious, and the sombre yet uncertain conclusion leaves one eager for the second novel in the trilogy' -- Daily Telegraph 'A captivating cast ... Ghosh's saga is enriched with a blizzard of Laskari- and Hindi-derived words that add irrepressible energy to the narrative' -- Metro 'Beautifully written, this totally absorbing novel will leave you eagerly awaiting a second instalment' -- She Magazine
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