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Sea of Poppies | [Amitav Ghosh]

Sea of Poppies

At the heart of this vibrant saga is an immense ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its purpose to fight China's vicious 19th-century Opium Wars. As for the crew, they are a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.
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Publisher's Summary

At the heart of this vibrant saga is an immense ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its purpose to fight China's vicious 19th-century Opium Wars. As for the crew, they are a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.

In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt Raja to a widowed tribeswoman, from a mulatto American freedman to a free-spirited French orphan. As their old family ties are washed away, they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais, or ship brothers. An unlikely dynasty is born, which will span continents, races, and generations.

The vast sweep of this historical adventure embraces the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the crowded backstreets of Canton. But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, that makes Sea of Poppies so breathtakingly alive - a masterpiece from one of the world's finest novelists.

©2008 Amitav Ghosh; (P)2008 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Such is the power of Ghosh's precise, understated prose that one occasionally wishes to turn the pages three at a time, eager to find out where Ghosh's tale is headed." (The Boston Globe)
"A writer of supreme skill and intelligence. " (The Atlantic Monthly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (307 )
5 star
 (101)
4 star
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3 star
 (63)
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Overall
3.9 (125 )
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (122 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Harpreet 11-24-08
    Harpreet 11-24-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Stick it through - its well worth the listen!"

    I really enjoyed Ghosh's other book Hungry Tide, so I was looking forward to this one. I must admit, it took me a while to get into this book. I found the various accents of the characters difficult to understand and I felt that I was being introduced to a lot of different characters really quickly without enough context...however, as I listened further all this changed. All of a sudden I was immersed in the rich world that Ghosh created and I was loath to stop listening. By the time this book ended, I wanted more and was sad that the book had ended. This book will likely be a 2nd listen for me in the future.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Ann Madison, GA, USA 12-03-09
    Jean Ann Madison, GA, USA 12-03-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic!"

    This book is just so good, on so many levels. The narrator is the best I've heard, he really nails all the accents and it's wonderful to hear the correct pronunciation of the mix of languages used in the book. You won't be sorry if you listen to this one.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tobias philadelphia, PA, USA 12-27-08
    Tobias philadelphia, PA, USA 12-27-08 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    116
    4
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    Overall
    "Historical Fiction"

    I usually avoid historical fiction at all costs, but decided to give this book a chance.
    Unfortunately, it suffered from the same flaws as many of its ilk, in my opinion:
    The history and the characters are depicted equally, which detracts from both, making them light and dull, respectively.
    Also, the characters are either innocent pure angels, or the most dastardly heartless villains, which in both cases makes them generally annoying and predictable.
    So, while it wasn't a badly written book, I got fed up about 2/3 through and gave up.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janet 02-12-15
    Janet 02-12-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Wonderful story"

    The author's art is matched by that of the narrator. Memorable characters, unforgettable settings. One of my favorites ever.

    Janet

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fran Pearson 03-10-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    32
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    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Not as good as his "The Hungry Tide""
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    This is a slow moving, somewhat majestic first part of a trilogy. There is much detail and conversation in various dialects. The audible vocabulary of Indian and Chinese culture is harder to understand than it might be in a book, where there is opportunity to look up the foreign words. The spelling is not obvious. The overall flavor of the times before and during the Opium Wars comes through and lends historical interest. There are many characters in this trilogy, each with a distinctive story.

    Note: this review also pertains to Ghosh's second book of the trilogy,


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Regina San Francisco , CA, USA 12-28-09
    Regina San Francisco , CA, USA 12-28-09 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    "Not enough history"

    After hearing Mr. Ghosh interviewed about this book in front of an audience, I thought there would be a lot more real history in this 'historical fiction novel', but there is not. I'm more of a nonfiction fan, so please excuse me for being very disappointed with this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gila Oakland, CA, United States 12-12-08
    Gila Oakland, CA, United States 12-12-08 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "listen with bated breath"

    phenomenal performance by Phil Gigante, deserves an award for sure. Fascinating history, meticulous linguistic research by Ghosh pay off in a big way. Can't wait for the next installment! And can we please get audio productions of all of Ghosh's past work?

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harold Minneapolis, MN, USA 11-24-08
    Harold Minneapolis, MN, USA 11-24-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    7
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    "Where is the story?"

    Having suffered through most of "Sea Of Poppies" I suggest the title should be "Sea Of Indian Words Whose Only Purpose Is To Prove The Narrator Can Pronounce Them". The story, if there is one, could easily told in an hour. This is the first audiobook I have erased from my library. Terrible!

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
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