Weaving the stories of Deeti, an unwitting young wife, drugged by her mother on her wedding night, Zachary Reid, an American sailor born to a quadroon mother and a white father, Neel Rattan Halder, a wealthy and unworldly rajah, Paulette, a French orphan, her best friend and son of her Ayah, Jodu, and Ah Fatt, a half-Chinese, half-Parsi opium addict, Ghosh tells a tale so full of detail and glorious description, the reader is fooled into thinking they are there.
Set in 19th century Calcutta at the height of the opium wars, Ghosh takes us on a journey centered on the Ibis, a ship transporting opium across the Bay of Bengal. The stories of the main characters intertwine into a great adventure so complicated, yet so riveting you will not lose sense of the plot for a moment. You will smell the henna, taste the masala and hope the best for the band of misfits thrown together on the Ganges River. Giving a dreamlike lesson of how life can change at any moment and the way the characters adjust to new situations the story si not just a tale but a gentle lesson in perseverance when all hope should be lost. Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008 and part of the Ibis trilogy, picking up this book will not disappoint those who yearn to escape into a truly different world.