Sea of Poppies: A Novel (The Ibis Trilogy)
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The first in an epic trilogy, Sea of Poppies is "a remarkably rich saga . . . which has plenty of action and adventure à la Dumas, but moments also of Tolstoyan penetration--and a drop or two of Dickensian sentiment" (The Observer [London]).
At the heart of this vibrant saga is a vast ship, the Ibis. Her destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly before the outbreak of the Opium Wars in China. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners on board, 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. The vast sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of Canton. With a panorama of characters whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, Sea of Poppies is "a storm-tossed adventure worthy of Sir Walter Scott" (Vogue).
it out, she rolled it between her fingers and raised her eyes, past the straining sails, to the star-filled vault above. On any other night she would have scanned the sky for the planet she had always thought to be the arbiter of her fate – but tonight her eyes dropped instead to the tiny sphere she was holding between her thumb and forefinger. She looked at the seed as if she had never seen one before, and suddenly she knew that it was not the planet above that governed her life: it was this
too: an example of this is the word chowder, clearly derived from the Hind. chodo/chodna etc. The word is said to be still widely in use in America, being employed chiefly as a noun, to refer to a kind of soup or pottage. Although I have not had the good fortune to partake of this dish, I am told that it is produced by a great deal of grinding and pounding, which would certainly be consonant with some aspects of the ancient meaning that is still preserved in the usage of this root in Hind.’
change of temperament if he could be persuaded to abandon his prickly kameez in favour of the cooler and more flattering chemise?’ karibat: The discovery of this word in *The Barney-Book gave Neel the greatest pleasure for it had become, by the last years of his life, so obscured with disuse as almost to be archaic. It is clear from his notes that he remembered a time when this word, which joins the Tamil kari with the Bengali bhat ‘rice’, was commonly used in English, to mean ‘an Indian
of affection, the boy squirmed: What’s the matter with you, Baba? What are you doing? Pulling away, he squinted at his father’s face. Then he turned to the servants he had been playing with and gave a delighted shout: Look! Look at Baba! The Raja of Raskhali is crying! Five It was late in the afternoon when at last Kalua’s cart came within view of its destination: the Sudder Opium Factory – fondly spoken of by old Company hands as the ‘Ghazeepore Carcanna’. The factory was immense: its
son of the woman who brought me up. Our growing was together; he is like my brother. It was as a sister that I was holding him, for he has suffered a great loss. He is the only family I have in this world. All this will seem strange to you no doubt . . .’ ‘Not at all,’ he said, shaking his head. ‘Miss Lambert, I know very well how such a connection might arise.’ She noticed that there was a tremor in his voice, as if to indicate that her story had touched a chord in him. She laid a hand on his