In the words of the blurb on the back cover River of Smoke takes the reader from “…the lush island of Mauritius to the alleys and waterways of nineteenth century Canton. There in the crowded waterways…” The main theme of River of Smoke is that of the opium trade. When the Chinese Emperor become determined to stamp it out for ever the lives of Amitav Ghosh’s many characters are changed forever.
I congratulate Amitav Ghosh on his research into an interesting historical era but, his descriptions of places and the occasional humour. However, although River of Smoke is skilfully written, to be honest, I did not enjoy it because the author did not made me care about what happened to his characters, most of whom I disliked.