Cover image for Flood of fire
Title:
Flood of fire
Author:
Ghosh, Amitav, 1956-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First American edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.
Physical Description:
616 pages : maps ; 24 cm.
Summary:
"The final novel in the bestselling Ibis Trilogy. It is 1839 and China has embargoed the trade of opium, yet too much is at stake in the lucrative business and the British Foreign Secretary has ordered the colonial government in India to assemble an expeditionary force for an attack to reinstate the trade. Among those consigned is Kesri Singh, a soldier in the army of the East India Company. He makes his way eastward on the Hind, a transport ship that will carry him from Bengal to Hong Kong. Along the way, many characters from the Ibis Trilogy come aboard, including Zachary Reid, a young American speculator in opium futures, and Shireen, the widow of an opium merchant whose mysterious death in China has compelled her to seek out his lost son. The Hind docks in Hong Kong just as war breaks out and opium "pours into the market like monsoon flood." From Bombay to Calcutta, from naval engagements to the decks of a hospital ship, among embezzlement, profiteering, and espionage, Amitav Ghosh charts a breathless course through the culminating moment of the British opium trade and vexed colonial history."--
General Note:
Previous titles in trilogy: Sea of poppies - River of smoke.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780374174248
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

The stunningly vibrant final novel in the bestselling Ibis Trilogy

It is 1839 and China has embargoed the trade of opium, yet too much is at stake in the lucrative business and the British Foreign Secretary has ordered the colonial government in India to assemble an expeditionary force for an attack to reinstate the trade. Among those consigned is Kesri Singh, a soldier in the army of the East India Company. He makes his way eastward on the Hind , a transport ship that will carry him from Bengal to Hong Kong.
Along the way, many characters from the Ibis Trilogy come aboard, including Zachary Reid, a young American speculator in opium futures, and Shireen, the widow of an opium merchant whose mysterious death in China has compelled her to seek out his lost son. The Hind docks in Hong Kong just as war breaks out and opium "pours into the market like monsoon flood." From Bombay to Calcutta, from naval engagements to the decks of a hospital ship, among embezzlement, profiteering, and espionage, Amitav Ghosh charts a breathless course through the culminating moment of the British opium trade and vexed colonial history.
With all the verve of the first two novels in the trilogy, Flood of Fire completes Ghosh's unprecedented reenvisioning of the nineteenth-century war on drugs. With remarkable historic vision and a vibrant cast of characters, Ghosh brings the Opium Wars to bear on the contemporary moment with the storytelling that has charmed readers around the world.


Author Notes

Born in Calcutta, and spent his childhood in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Northern India. He studied in Delhi, Oxford, and Egypt and taught at various Indian and American universities. Author of a travel book and three acclaimed novels. Ghosh has also written for GRANTA, THE NEW YORKER, THE NEW YORK TIMES, and THE OBSERVER. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

(Publisher Provided) Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta, India on July 11, 1956. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria. His first book, The Circle of Reason, won France's Prix Médicis. He has won several other awards including the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Ananda Puraskar for The Shadow Lines, the Arthur C. Clarke award for The Calcutta Chromosome, and the Crossword Book Prize for The Hungry Tide and Sea of Poppies. His other works include In an Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Glass Palace, and River of Smoke. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's highest honors, by the President of India. He made the New Zealand Best Seller List in 2015 with his title Flood of Fire.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The final novel in Ghosh's dynamic trilogy (Sea of Poppies, 2008; River of Smoke, 2011) about India's involvement in the Opium Wars between England and China is rife with antic lust, lost love, and foul greed. Ghosh's ebullient fluency in the colorful argot of the contentious worlds he brings forth distinguishes this passionately researched series as much as his wily and zealous exposure of entrenched discrimination pertaining to race, religion, gender, caste, and class. Once again Ghosh proves himself to be a virtuoso scene-setter and action writer as the Ibis' scattered crew and passengers find themselves reuniting in unexpected ways in China, circa 1840. Sailor and carpenter Zachary Reid, a mixed-race American, becomes entangled with a British opium magnate and his lonely wife. Kesri Singh, a career soldier serving the East India Company, finds his loyalties severely tested. Disgraced raja Neel is working as a translator, and opium trader Bahram's widow, Shireen, bravely seeks the truth about her husband's life and death. Forbidden and betrayed love are the primary forces here, enacted with bawdy comedy and outright melodrama amid family concerns, secret deals, brutality, military battles, and the horrors of the drug trade. This feverishly detailed, vividly panoramic, tumultuous, funny, and heartbreaking tale offers a vigorous conclusion to Ghosh's astutely complex and profoundly resonant geopolitical saga.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2015 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Ghosh's final novel in his Ibis trilogy (after 2008's Sea of Poppies and 2011's River of Smoke) is set during the First Opium War in China, from 1839 to 1841. Ghosh's cast of characters is lengthy, and many change identities; relationships and events begun in the first two books are referred to frequently here. Sorting out who is who can be confusing, especially if the reader is not familiar with the other two novels. Still, Ghosh's firm grasp of the British empire's war with China over opium imports is colorful and insightful, and ultimately a powerful indictment of European imperial arrogance, using force to secure economic concessions from a Chinese dynasty. Havildar Kesri Singh is an Indian sepoy (soldier) in the East India Company Army, sent to China with his officer, Captain Neville Mee, as part of the British campaign to force the Chinese to pay reparations, allow opium imports, open free trade ports, and cede Hong Kong. An immoral American sailor, Zachary Reid, sees riches in the opium trade, partnering with a rich businessman while bedding his wife, later blackmailing her, destroying her marriage, and causing untold grief to others. Woven throughout are historical depictions of British imperialism and duplicity, the Indian caste system, the tragic suffering and the tremendous profits in war, European-Asian enmity, and grim portrayals of vicious naval and land battles in which cannon and bayonets inflict slaughter. This is an excellent history of the First Opium War, and a fitting capstone to Ghosh's trilogy. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

British, Indian, and Chinese cultures clash in this final book of Ghosh's trilogy (after River of Smoke) about the first 19th-century Opium War, launched when China embargoed trade on the drug. There are many different characters' stories here: wealthy ship merchant Mr. Burnham, who will stop at nothing in order to establish an opium trade with China; Zachary, a ship's carpenter, who aspires to both Mr. Burnham's wealth and his wife; Captain Mee, whose warrior's bluff hides a broken heart; his havildar (a noncommissioned officer in the Indian Army) Kesri, who must walk a tight rope between the British officers and the Indian soldiers; the widowed Shireen, who breaks with her Parsi tradition to sail to China to recover her family's fortune; and opium addict Freddie Lee, who struggles with his mixed-race heritage and his grief for his murdered parents. All these characters and more intersect in surprising ways as the events race to a climactic end. VERDICT Filled with politics and personal struggles, sex and sea battles, this suspenseful tale with well-researched detail and compelling characters will be of particular interest to fans of historical novels with a military focus. [See Prepub Alert, 3/2/15.]-Joy Humphrey, Pepperdine Univ. Law Lib., Malibu, CA © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.