Flood of Fire

Farrar. (Ibis Trilogy, Bk. 3). Aug. 2015. 624p. ISBN 9780374174248. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781429944281. F
British, Indian, and Chinese cultures clash in this final book of Ghosh's trilogy (after River of Smoke) about the first 19th-century Opium War, launched when China embargoed trade on the drug. There are many different characters' stories here: wealthy ship merchant Mr. Burnham, who will stop at nothing in order to establish an opium trade with China; Zachary, a ship's carpenter, who aspires to both Mr. Burnham's wealth and his wife; Captain Mee, whose warrior's bluff hides a broken heart; his havildar (a noncommissioned officer in the Indian Army) Kesri, who must walk a tight rope between the British officers and the Indian soldiers; the widowed Shireen, who breaks with her Parsi tradition to sail to China to recover her family's fortune; and opium addict Freddie Lee, who struggles with his mixed-race heritage and his grief for his murdered parents. All these characters and more intersect in surprising ways as the events race to a climactic end.
VERDICT Filled with politics and personal struggles, sex and sea battles, this suspenseful tale with well-researched detail and compelling characters will be of particular interest to fans of historical novels with a military focus. [See Prepub Alert, 3/2/15.]
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing