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Publisher Description

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.

Fiction & Literature
September 29
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Customer Reviews

mhollis ,

Rollicking nautical adventure with a twist

I have read many nautical novels set in the 19th Century, but this one stands out, based on its origination place. The adventurer takes place on a merchant ship, not a warship, and in the Indian Ocean, not the Atlantic or Pacific. Characters are deeply crafted, with long backstories.

While I am familiar with the language of the English officer and pressed sailor from that century, the language used to describe the ship, it's component parts and orders to be followed is alien, but delightfully so.

Individual characters' stories are interwoven beautifully to arrive at an exciting combined story with a wonderful climax. I was truly sorry to see the story end.

Thankfully, there is a sequel.

Skittlesrap ,

A great read

Well researched work of historical fiction and a page turner.

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