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Summary

At the heart of this epic saga, set just before the Opium Wars, is an old slaving-ship, The Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its crew a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts.

In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a truly diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt Raja to a widowed villager, from an evangelical English opium trader to a mulatto American freedman. 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 spans the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of China. But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, which makes Sea of Poppies so breathtakingly alive - a masterpiece from one of the world's finest novelists.

©2008 Amitav Ghosh (P)2009 Isis Publishing Ltd

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What members say

Average customer ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful!

I'm really enjoying this book. In the beginning I wasn't sure about Kish Sharma's narration, but as I kept listening, I started to appreciate him more and more. His renditions of the characters voices are perfect, and sometimes hysterically funny. The only (constructive) criticism I would have is that sometimes he goes too fast. The story itself is rich, evocative and fascinating. I highly recommend this.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent!

I really enjoyed this book! The reader is amazing! Pity the quality of the sound of the recording was muffled at times!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved the book

Would you listen to Sea of Poppies again? Why?

I never listen to a book twice.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

I loved this book, but I wonder if the narrator got a bonus for reading at twice the normal rate. I am glad to see that the second part of the trilogy is narrated by a different narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, exotic location

This is a really original and different story, about a time and a place that most of us know little of. It is outstandingly well narrated by Kish Sharma, who gives each character a unique and entirely convincing voice.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful story beautifully told

Excellent narrative that had me gripped till the very end. Looking forward to the next one by the author

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Didn't Finish

This is the first audio book I have not been able to finish. The narrator spoke much to quickly and words just mearged one into the other. I persevered for several chapters then gave up as I was having to rewind and listen to so many bits again to understand any of the story.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Loved this book

I really liked the background and history to the poppy trade.
I also enjoyed the way the story unfolded, the connections were made and characters were brought together.
It seemed to end a bit abruptly but from the threads throughout the story we know it all comes together. Great book!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Every aspect humans proffer, experience and endure

Sometimes galling, sometimes heartbreaking sometimes hilarious! Amazingly written and even more cleverly and realistically read! I think parts of it will stay with me forever!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed it more than I thought I would

I nearly gave up on this part way through but I am now glad I saw it through to the end. I'm considering getting the second too. The narrator was fantastic.......Actually having listened to the sample and reading the reviews I won't be getting book 2.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

eye opening

This is a contemporary piece of writing that holds fast to the great history it is based in.
truly wonderful characters and I am looking forward to reading the next instalment.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan Myers
  • 30-11-17

Overly melodramatic

I never really got into this book and was just impatient for it to finish. Not sure I’ll bother with the next two - if it was not so long winded, I feel this would be just another sickly sweet romance novel. The narration was interesting - excellent voices but the delivery of the narration was flat and dull. There were no pauses between many of the different sections, making it confusing to follow at times.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Shyam
  • 06-02-17

Excellent story, gripping narration

Amitav Ghosh recreates the colonial world with its conflicting ethos and turbulent commerce in a clash of destinies which converge on a schooner. Narrated with excellent voice modulations at a tight pace.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-12-12

Wonderful listen 4 a fast ear

Would you consider the audio edition of Sea of Poppies to be better than the print version?

Haven't read the print

What did you like best about this story?

The flow and the life-like description of the characters

What about Kish Sharma’s performance did you like?

The characters' accents

Any additional comments?

Kish at times read too fast to follow.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • T
  • 10-05-12

good beginning gradually decays to nonsense

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Well it's not clear if the recording process was faulty or whether the story actually concludes with the lifeboat leaving in a storm with several main characters on board while several other main characters remain on the ship in various states of unresolved dubious action, but it could have got to maybe 2.5 stars if all this was concluded in some way.

What could Amitav Ghosh have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Make the author sit down and do a serious self critique of his work, modify his objectives in favour of producing a cohesive plausible narrative with consistent characterization, and give it more time, more thought and much hard work rewriting and condensing.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Kish Sharma?

Yes the narration was very good considering the overblown nonsense that the book gradually decended to, and the narrator probably can't be blamed for overdoing it somewhat.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The commencement of the book was excellent The early development of the characters and their origins and the narrative was fine up to maybe one third of the way through. The ingredients were there for a great novel, if only it had continued in that way. Unfortunately the author became overwhelmed by his own characters and quite literally lost the plot.

Any additional comments?

Please convey my comments for what they are worth to the author because in my opinion the author does have talent - currently wasting it.