SEA OF POPPIES
First published 2008
Let me tell you about buying this book. After being provided with a review copy of the third in this Ibis trilogy, I sought the first two books. I initially purchased them from the Book Depository, since despite its purchase by Amazon, it has served me well in the past, and given the size of the books, time was somewhat of the essence. Unfortunately, my order for the second book was cancelled after a few days and I was refunded. The first book, though, was ostensibly sent in early March. By the beginning of April, I had not received it. So I contacted the Book Depository and received a swift refund for that too. And I turned to Booktopia, which delivered both books promptly, albeit in rather strange jaffle-style packaging. Surprise, surprise, John Murray is a trading name of Hachette, with whom Amazon and by extention the Book Depository have been having a well-publicised tiff*.
Book finally in my hands, I expected something of a dour book. Nominated for the Man Booker Prize, Sea of Poppies is firmly targeted at a literary market. I feared it would be a worthy†, possibly depressing novel about serious issues. But while this book is certainly about the slightly serious issue of the first Opium War, it is neither dour nor worthy. In fact it is frequently hilarious.