Sea of Poppies
The first in a trilogy of novels, Sea of Poppies is a stunningly vibrant and intensely human work that confirms Amitav Ghosh’s reputation as a master storyteller. At the heart of this epic saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean to the Mauritius Islands. As to the people on board, they are a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.
In a time of colonial upheaval in the mid-nineteenth century, fate has thrown together a truly diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt Raja to a widowed village-woman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited European orphan. As they sail down the Hooghly and into the sea, their old family ties are washed away, and they view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers, who will build whole new lives for themselves in the remote islands where they are being taken.