Flood Of Fire

by Amitav Ghosh

3.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(1 customer review)

3.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(1 customer review)


It is 1839 and tension has been rapidly mounting between China and British India following the crackdown on opium smuggling by Beijing. With no resolution in sight, the colonial government declares war. One of the vessels requisitioned for the attack, the Hind, travels eastwards from Bengal to China, sailing into the midst of the First Opium War. The turbulent voyage brings together a diverse group of travellers, each with their own agenda to pursue. Among them is Kesri Singh, a sepoy in the East India Company who leads a company of Indian sepoys; Zachary Reid, an impoverished young sailor searching for his lost love, and Shireen Modi, a determined widow en route to China to reclaim her opium-trader husband’s wealth and reputation. Flood of Fire follows a varied cast of characters from India to China, through the outbreak of the First Opium War and China’s devastating defeat, to Britain’s seizure of Hong Kong.

Genre, Indian Writing

About The Author

Amitav Ghosh (born 11 July 1956) is an Indian-American author best known for his work in English fiction. Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta on 11 July 1956 to a Bengali Hindu family, to Lieutenant Colonel Shailendra Chandra Ghosh, a retired officer of the pre-independence Indian Army. His first job was at the Indian Express newspaper in New Delhi.

Ghosh lives in New York with his wife, Deborah Baker, author of the Laura Riding biography In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding (1993) and a senior editor at Little, Brown and Company. They have two adult children, Lila and Nayan, who both work in the finance industry in New York. He has been a fellow at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta and Centre for Development Studies in Trivandrum. In 1999, Ghosh joined the faculty at Queens College, City University of New York, as Distinguished Professor in Comparative literature. He has also been a visiting professor at the English department of Harvard University since 2005. Ghosh subsequently returned to India began working on the Ibis trilogy which includes Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke, and Flood of Fire (published May 2015).

He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian government in 2007. In 2009, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 2015 Ghosh was named a Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow.

Average Reader Rating

3.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating

Reader Reviews

1 review for Flood Of Fire

  1. 3 out of 5

    “Flood of Fire,” the trilogy’s final volume, Ghosh picks up the story in 1839, a few months before the outbreak of the First Opium War. We meet Kesri Singh, a sepoy — an Indian soldier in the British service — who has now volunteered to be part of an expeditionary force for the East India Company; Zachary Reid, an American sailor who quite unexpectedly finds himself in a position to trade in opium; Shireen Modi, a widow who travels to China to look for her late husband’s illegitimate child; and Neel Rattan Halder, a rajah who was separated from his son after his arrest by the British.The positives first. It’s a brilliantly researched account of events leading up to the First Opium War, showing the perspectives of characters from around the world, in particular Britain, India and China. It gives anyone unfamiliar with events a great insight into the period and the places. It shows, in particular, the paradoxical position which the Indian participants find themselves in, invaluable to both camps, but not quite at home in either.Where I felt a little let down was in the storytelling. I missed the humor of the earlier books, and the inventiveness of the language as characters from different cultures and classes were thrown together. Some of the characters’ storylines felt a little soapy (particularly Zachary’s) and others, like Shireen, a bit prosaic. Other plot lines relied on coincidence.

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