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"River of Smoke follows the story through to Canton in China, where the opium is sold.

...the novel's strength lies in how thoroughly Ghosh fills out his research with his novelistic fantasy, seduced by each new situation that presents itself and each new character, so that at their best the scenes read with a sensual freshness as if they were happening now.

The writing can't help coming down on the side of the rich intercourse of ports and traders, the hybridity born of cultural contact, the bastardisations of language in pidgin and port slang, and sexual encounters across the barriers of race and convention."

Read the article in The Guardian