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.
©2015 Amitav Ghosh (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved
This is a beautiful novel. Sea of Poppies still remains my favourite out of this trilogy but this was wonderfully writing too with a lot of historical and political depth. People with interests in well-researched historical fiction from a postcolonial perspective would enjoy the Ibis trilogy. I gave three stars for the performance because I'm not in favour of the various, cringeworthy "ethnic" accents the voice artist does. Ghatak's flat rendering of Freddie/Ah Fatt's lilt and accent was so bad and distracting. I'd prefer less dramatized and stereotypical accents when listening to audiobooks in general. He managed the other accents but his inaccurate pronunciation of several hindusthani words was also distracting and misleading at several points.
Book 1 narration was best for this "listener."
I couldn't finish "listening." I so missed Phil Gigante's narration. The Book 3 narrator was just painful to my ears and heart. I mean no ill will toward the narrator. No doubt, his narration of a book other than this one would be very good.
Phil Gigante took a lot of flak for his narration of Book 1 - Sea of Poppies. Having no knowledge of Hindi or Bengali, the complaints against his pronunciation meant nothing to this "listener." I especially liked his narration of all the the characters - it came across as sincere/authentic. I can't say the same for the narrator of Book 3, whose narration of Zachary, especially, was painful to this "listener." I had to put it down. If I finish it, I will buy the book. The trilogy is a good "read."
Amitav Ghosh is a wonderful historical story teller. His books are well researched and well-informed. He writes my kind of book. I wish Audible would sometimes take greater care in the choice of narrators. When listening to a book, the narration is as important as the book itself.
I liked the subject matter and the story, it was exciting to read of the opium trade in the 1830's in Canton. The characters were great! And the descriptions of India and Hong Kong, very real, I loved all the colorful characters.
Although I hadn't read the preceding novels in this trilogy in some time, the final novel drew me right back into the parallel strains of its multiple overlapping narratives. without recapping the drama that ensues, suffice it to say that this hugely satisfying tale provides insight into the history, and human costs of the opium wars from several points of view; male and female of Indian, American, Chinese, and of course, British nationalities and cultural perspectives.
narrator is excellent, adds to the enjoyment. history lesson is very important. characters are unforgettable. highly recommended
"Flood of Fire" wraps up the Ibis Trilogy. I eagerly snapped it up as soon as I learned that it was available and I was not disappointed! Ghosh has a very precise and economical style of writing, bordering on austere at times, but it is well suited for telling his story about places and peoples that are unfamiliar to most Westerners (myself included).
As with the other books in the series, it takes us on a trip to the exotic Far East of the early 19th century and destinations such as India, China, and Hong Kong among others. It explores the morality (or lack of morality) of the British Empire in its dealings with "lesser" races and countries. Ghosh does a fine job of developing his characters, and pushes the story ever forward at a steady pace. The look into colonialism is fascinating, and the power of the British in this era is a revelation, as is their will to use it in pursuit of their own ends. Underlying Hindu beliefs play against the prevailing greed of the British to produce quite a conclusion.
The narration was exactly what the novel required. Ghatak did an excellent performance of the various dialects and accents, and was very successful in developing differentiated voices for the major characters. Some narrators seem to put their voices in front of the narrative - but this never happens in Flood of Fire. Aside from a few odd pronunciations, this was a clean and enjoyable listen.
Zachary Reed has a tremendous story arc from ordinary sailor, to successful opium salesman, to ruthless business magnate.
Very worthwhile listening.
The book was too long. Some parts became too descriptive. But overall it kept the thread and the characters libes woven around each other.
I would recommend this book to friends who are interested in history.
If it weren't for Audible I'd never get any reading done.
This is Ghosh's last entry in the Ibis trilogy, but he hints in the epilogue that the story may continue, since it's based on an historical archive that goes on after the conclusion of the first Opium War.
In addition to well-described passages on life in India and the soldier's experience in the early days of Hong Kong, it's a great war story. It's series of interlocking narratives and at times it's difficult to keep up with the many threads. Several of the pieces are continuations of stories begun the first 2 volumes, of course, and while he does include a certain amount of backstory, I had to rack my brains to come up with several of the events referred to. Eventually it all works out.
The narrator is terrific, handling several Indian and English accents with ease.
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