Sea of Poppies

Version: Unabridged
Author: Amitav Ghosh
Narrator: Phil Gigante
Genres: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Brilliance Corporation
Published In: October 2008
# of Units: 15 CDs
Length: 14 hours, 20 minutes
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At the heart of this vibrant saga is an immense ship, the Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its purpose to fight China's vicious nineteenth-century Opium Wars. As for the crew, they are a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, 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. An unlikely dynasty is born, which will span continents, races, and generations. The vast sweep of this historical adventure embraces the lush poppy fields of the Ganges, the rolling high seas, and the crowded backstreets of Canton. But it is the panorama of characters, whose diaspora encapsulates the vexed colonial history of the East itself, that makes Sea of Poppies so breathtakingly alive - a masterpiece from one of the world's finest novelists. "Such is the power of Ghosh's precise, understated prose that one occasionally wishes to turn the pages three at a time, eager to find out where Ghosh's tale is headed." - The Boston Globe

Reviews (2)


Written by Anonymous on January 21st, 2014

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I would give this 10 stars if I could. The book itself has virtues that are well-recognized by many. The reader adds energy by actually becoming the characters. His pronunciations are not always accurate, but his effort and energy are winning attributes. One warning – the book will be difficult (though still rewarding) for people not versed in Indian culture and language. This is true whether the book is read as text or heard on audio – it is not the fault of the reader of this audiobook.

Maddening narration

Written by coelacanth on April 29th, 2013

  • Book Rating: 2/5

The narration of this book is so over the top in its use of different 'voices' for different characters that it was almost unintelligible. I gave it two stars rather than 1 because it's a good story, but you'd be much better off reading it than listening to this recording.

Author Details

Author Details

Ghosh, Amitav

Writer and anthropologist Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956 and spent his childhood in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and northern India. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Egypt, and has taught in various Indian and American universities. He is the author of three books: "The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines" and "In An Antique Land" and has written for "The New Yorker, Granta, The New Republic" and "The New York Times." Mr. Ghosh and his wife, Deborah Baker, live in New York with their two children.