In Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies , the Ibis began its treacherous journey across the Indian Ocean, bound for the cane fields of Mauritius with a cargo of indentured servants. Now, in River of Smoke , the former slave ship flounders in the Bay of Bengal, caught in the midst of a deadly cyclone. The storm also threatens the clipper ship Anahita, groaning with the largest consignment of opium ever to leave India for Canton. Meanwhile, the Redruth, a nursery ship, carries horticulturists determined to track down the priceless botanical treasures of China. All will converge in Canton’s Fanqui-town, or Foreign Enclave, a powder keg awaiting a spark to ignite the Opium Wars.
A spectacular adventure, but also a bold indictment of global avarice, River of Smoke is a consuming historical novel with powerful contemporary resonance.