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Flood of Fire

Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Reception to follow

Amitav Ghosh

Flood of Fire

Merchants of Boston, including Boston Athenæum benefactors James and Thomas Handasyd Perkins, participated eagerly and built fortunes in the 19th-century China Trade. The Perkins brothers--whose portraits grace the Athenæum’s first-floor Henry Long Room and Deborah Hill Bornheimer Room--traded in tea, coffee, silk, and sugar on three continents and navigated markets in war and peace. They also profited from illicit opium trade between Turkey and China. Amitav Ghosh’s novels in the Ibis Trilogy offer a fictionalized glimpse of the world in which the Perkins brothers operated.

This program is offered in anticipation of the Athenæum's India Heritage and Literary Tour in January 2016.

With all the verve of the first two novels in the trilogy, Flood of Fire completes Ghosh’s unprecedented re-envisioning of the nineteenth century war on drugs. With remarkable historic vision and a vibrant cast of characters, Ghosh brings the Opium Wars to bear on the contemporary moment with the storytelling that has charmed  readers around the world.

Amitav Ghosh is the internationally bestselling author of Sea of Poppies (shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize) and River of Smoke, the first two novels in the Ibis Trilogy, of which Flood of Fire is the final installment. He has written ten other novels and works of nonfiction, including three essay collections. A frequent contributor to The New Yorker, The New Republic, The New York Times, and others, his work has been translated into more than twenty languages.

Registration for this event will begin on September 9 at 9:00 a.m.

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Most programs held in the Bayard Henry Long Room on the Athenaeum's first floor are amplified and assistive listening devices are available for patron use.

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To request ASL interpretation services for any of the Athenaeum's programs, please contact Hannah Weisman at 617-720-7617 or