Kunal Diwan

Latest novel to be released on June 1

“Sea of Poppies” is the first book in Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy

The work covers three continents and two centuries

NEW DELHI: Ending a long wait, Penguin Books on Friday announced that Amitav Ghosh’s latest novel, “Sea of Poppies”, would be released on June 1.

An epic of immense scope and narrative power, “Sea of Poppies” is the first book in Ghosh’s Ibis trilogy, his most ambitious work so far spanning three continents and close to two centuries. The book combines the drama of individual lives with the larger theme of history and does what all great novels aspire to achieve: accommodate every aspect of human experience in one sweeping narrative.

A vibrant and intensely human work that confirms Ghosh’s reputation as a master storyteller, “Sea of Poppies” is set in the 1830s in a huge ship, the “Ibis”. Its destiny is a tumultuous journey across the Indian Ocean to the Mauritius Islands with its load of motley sailors that include stowaways, convicts and coolies.

As they sail down the Hooghly and into the sea, old family ties are washed away and they view themselves as ship-brothers who will build a whole new life for themselves in the remote islands, heralding the beginning of a new dynasty. The sweep of this historical adventure spans the lush poppy fields by the Ganga, the rolling high seas, and the exotic backstreets of China at the height of the Opium Wars.

One of the most widely read Indian authors writing in English, Ghosh was born in Calcutta and studied in Delhi, Oxford and Egypt. His first novel, “The Circle of Reason”, won the Prix Medici Etranger award. His other works include “The Shadow Lines”, “The Calcutta Chromosome” and “The Glass Palace” that won the grand prize for fiction at the Frankfurt international e-book awards.

Ghosh presently resides in Brooklyn, US.

“Sea of Poppies” will be launched across India with an extensive tour beginning in the second week of June