River of Smoke: A Novel (The Ibis Trilogy Book 2) By Amitav Ghosh


Tedious and long winded and, at times, overly complicated. I persevered with this book because I don't like giving up on a read and it's something I rarely do but one this occasion it crossed my mind on a few occasions. There's very little in the way of a story to warrant the length of this book sure, the insight into the whole opium trade was interesting but again, way too long for almost no story. I had high expectations as I like historical fiction but this didn't cut it for me. Soldiers

have to say that at first i found this a little dissappointing after 'the sea of poppies'. i loved thatloved the completely mixed group of people on the ship, loved the lascars language, loved the moveble feast. buti knew this was a trilogy about the opium warsso it had to stop travelling, and get centered in canton and the despicable trade. when i was at university i studied chinese civilization as an outside course, and i wrote an essay entitled 'the opium wars. the most indefensible conflict in british history. discuss.' wellhere is the discusson! it is actually so well written it makes you angryespecially as for years afterwards the chinese were portrayed at the perpertrators of opium denswhen it was the british who caused them. sorry to go about the historybut this novel is so fresh that it seems like its just happened.and yet there is so much heresome of the letters from ralph to puggly actually made me laugh out loud. you just cant but feel sorry for mr moddie, not that he is an innocent..but he is an indian, and also ground down. and the whole passage about meeting napoleon on st helena..bloody magic. this is a huge bookit encompasses the history of the whole time, but told through people who are small players. i suggest you just download itand read it after the sea of poppies.,..though it stand up well enough on its own, its nice to have background. Soldiers River of Smike is the 2nd in the Ibis Trilogy. I first read Sea of Poppies (in paperback) and was so enthralled that I ordered River of Smoke the same day that I finished Sea of Poppies and I was not dissappopinted. Sea of Poppies deals with the growth and production of opium in India in the mid 1800's and also the way in which people were transported from India to provide cheap labour in (I think) Mauritius once the slave trade had been abolished. I became so involved with the characters that I could not wait to follow their story. River of Smoke picks up one two or three of characters and tells their story when they end up, by various means, in the trading enclave outside Canton. The stories are cleverly interwoven and the revolvs around the built up of the tensions between the Chinese who want to stop the importation of opium and the English (the East India Comapny), Amercains and Indians who are make such incredible profits from transporting opium from India to China. It culminates with the traders being driven from Canton immediatly prior to the opium wars.This is a fascinating epic, not only are the characters draw you in but the books are brilliantly researched and very informative. This is an era of history which was not taught in schools in my time and of which I was woefully ignorant. I am now eagerly awaiting volume 3 in the trilogy. Highly recommended. Soldiers Love this author Glass Palace and Hungry Tide are 2 of my favourite books of all time. (Alongside Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible). I adored Sea Of Poppies, first book in the trilogy, so ordered this and the third book. Majority of the action in this part takes place in Canton. Cannot recommend it highly enough. Superb! Pacey, hilarious in parts, especially where Bahram takes spoken English literally, and also extremely informative, if you are interested in life in Canton at the time of the run up to the Opium Wars. A little word about the language I have lived in France, Kolkata, India, Cape Town, South Africa, and in Xi'an, Central China amongst other places, so have some French, Bangla and Mandarin and I am very familiar with English spoken using word orders from other tongues. I felt very much at home with the pidgin, but I think a glossary would assist readers without my somewhat unusual language background. Soldiers After having read the first of the Ibis trilogy, 'Sea of Poppies', I couldn't wait to step into 'River of Smoke'. This book is set against the beginning of the Opium War, and primarily takes place in the foreign quarters of China's Canton. It illustrates wonderfully how the Soldiers This work is a work of great scholarship and a very thoughtful treatment of great themes: trade, globalisation, culture, identity, ethics. The thoughtful consideration of the characters and themes is set against the beginning of the First Opium War. There is much h in this novel that sheds light on Sino Western relations. This is not just a story or yarn; we are totally immersed into the world described through language and the huge amount of detail. Anyone who wants to understand this very sinister and dark page of this Time should read this book. Soldiers

As hypnotic as an opium dream and pretty unputdownable Daily Mail

In September 1838 a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and the Ibis, a ship carrying a consignment of convicts and indentured laborers from Calcutta to Mauritius, is caught up in the whirlwind. When the seas settle, five men have disappeared two lascars, two convicts and one of the passengers. Did the same storm upend the fortunes of those aboard the Anahita, an opium carrier heading towards Canton? And what fate befell those aboard the Redruth, a sturdy two masted brig heading East out of Cornwall? Was it the storm that altered their course or were the destinies of these passengers at the mercy of even powerful forces?

On the grand scale of an historical epic, River of Smoke follows its storm tossed characters to the crowded harbors of China. There, despite efforts of the emperor to stop them, ships from Europe and India exchange their cargoes of opium for boxes of tea, silk, porcelain and silver. Among them are Bahram Modi, a wealthy Parsi opium merchant out of Bombay, his estranged half Chinese son Ah Fatt, the orphaned Paulette and a motley collection of others whose pursuit of romance, riches and a legendary rare flower have thrown together. All struggle to cope with their losses and for some, unimaginable freedoms in the alleys and crowded waterways of 19th century Canton.

As transporting and mesmerizing as an opiate induced dream, River of Smoke will soon be heralded as a masterpiece of twenty first century literature. River of Smoke: A Novel (The Ibis Trilogy Book 2)

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