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Flood of Fire

Amitav Ghosh

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Completed on 24 May 2022
ISBN : 9780143426127

‘A triumph of storytelling’ The Hindu. It is 1839. The British, whose opium exports to China have been blockaded by Beijing, are planning an invasion to force China’s hand. In Calcutta, Zachary Reid, an impoverished young sailor, dreams of his lost love and of a way to make his fortunes. Heading towards Calcutta is Havildar Kesri to lead a regiment of Indian volunteers in the upcoming war. In Mumbai, Shireen Modi prepares to sail alone to China to reclaim her opium trader husband’s wealth and reputation. In Canton, Neel becomes an aide and translator to a senior Chinese official as Beijing begins to prepare for war with Britain and the more he sees, the more worried he becomes for the Chinese have neither the ships nor the artillery to match the British in modern warfare. The future seems clear but do the Chinese know it? 


Such a fascinating book and highly recommended. A triumph of narrative Indian Hindu. It is 1839. The British are preparing an invasion to exert pressure on China after Beijing blocked their opium supplies to that country. Zachary Reid, a young sailor who lives in poverty in Calcutta, daydreams of his former love and of ways to make money. Havildar Kesri is travelling to Calcutta to take command of an Indian volunteer unit in the approaching conflict. Shireen Modi is getting ready to sail alone to China from Mumbai in order to retrieve her opium merchant husband's fortune and good name. As Beijing begins to prepare for war with Britain, Neel moves to Canton and works as a translator and assistant to a top Chinese official. The more he observes, the more concerned he becomes because the Chinese lack both the ships and the weapons.

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