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Amitav Ghosh is a master story-teller, and over and over again, he has proven that beautiful writing takes the reader into a world that is, under ordinary circumstances way beyond reach.
With Flood of Fire, Amitav Ghosh’s much acclaimed Ibis trilogy reaches its climax. Four years is too long a wait but Ibis fans will not be disappointed. The final book in the Ibis trilogy is set against the backdrop of the First Opium War, with most of the main protagonists converging in China. The Colonial power declares war against Imperial China and caught between the two sides are Kesari Singh, Deeti’s brother, Jodu, Neel, Zachary Reid and Ah Fatt.
The Ibis trilogy began with the Sea of Poppies; set in the Gangetic plains amidst the vast sea of poppy plantations, the story brought to life the characters of Deeti, Zachary Reid, Serang Ali, Ah Fatt, Kalua, Jodu, Paulette and Raja Neel Rattan Haldar, all tied together with the invisible, yet addictive thread woven by opium. The narrative brought the protagonists onboard the ill-fated slave schooner, Ibis. Ibis with its odd cargo of opium, indentured servants and convicts, was the protagonist of this tumultuous adventure. New bonds were forged and the journey across the Indian Ocean changed their lives forever.
The Ibis reached Mauritius, with a few passengers missing and Zachary Reid was held responsible for the mutiny onboard. River of Smoke took off from where the first book ended. Deeti and Paulette gathered up the fragments and started a life, which both could never have fathomed. While Mauritius brought forth its own share of trials, the fugitives off the Ibis, started afresh too. China, with its opium dens, sensitivities and esoteric culture, played the stage for the saga that unfolded in River of Smoke.
Without giving away the story, all I can say is that with Flood of Fire the pieces of the puzzle fit in. As the pages turn, there are enough “Ahhh” moments to help connect the narratives of all three books. Set in British India and the far east upto China, each scene unfolds magically and the reader is in for a thrilling ride down back into the late 1830s and events that made Hong Kong a part of the British empire.
If you haven’t read the previous two books, it is entirely your loss as the Ibis trilogy is definitely a modern literary achievement, written by a writer whose impeccable reputation precedes him.
A must read!!!
Releasing 28th May,2015