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Even better than Sea of Poppies (and that's saying something
on 13 January 2016
Even better than Sea of Poppies (and that's saying something!), set in the run-up to the first opium war in 1839, with an Indian Parsee opium trader caught up in the politicking between the East India Company, trying to foist their most profitable product on China, while the Chinese government tries to enforce a widely flouted ban on it. The historical background is impeccably researched, with the narrative carefully woven into the historical facts. Genuine historical figures speak with words they genuinely used, which Ghosh has dug up from original sources, while his fictional characters, as usual, speak in varieties of English that must themselves have taken some serious research to reproduce as beautifully as Ghosh has (you may however want to have a copy of the Hobson-Jobson to hand to check the exact meanings of some of the terms they use).