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River of Smoke

by Amitav Ghosh

A magnificent and sprawling tale of China and the Opium Trade but at its heart this was very much the absorbing story of one merchant, Bahram Modi. Although this is the second part of a trilogy it is easy to read as a stand-alone novel. More complicated is the number of characters and their intertwined stories - just stay with it for a while as the pieces fall into place - you will have the adventure of a lifetime

Extract

In Canton, stripped of the multiple wrappings of home, family, community, obligation and decorum, Bahram had experienced the emergence of a new persona, one that had been previously dormant within him: he had become Barry Moddie, a man who was confident, forceful, gregarious, hospitable, boisterous and enormously successful. But when he made the journey back to Bombay, ... Barry would become Bahram again, a quietly devoted husband, living uncomplainingly within the constraints of a large joint family.

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