River of Smoke
by Amitav Ghosh
Set in 1838, a storm blows up on the Indian Ocean and a ship carrying a consignment of convicts and labourers from Calcutta to Mauritius is caught up in the whirlwind. River of Smoke follows its storm-tossed characters to the crowded harbors of China. Among them are Bahram Modi, a wealthy Parsi opium merchant out of Bombay, his estranged half-Chinese son Ah Fatt, the orphaned Paulette and a motley collection of others whose pursuit of romance, riches and a legendary rare flower have thrown together. All struggle to cope with their losses – and for some, unimaginable freedoms – in the alleys and crowded waterways.
by Margaret George
Born in 1533 to King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, this biographical novel about the life life of Elizabeth Tudor is told through two first person narratives; Elizabeth herself and Lettice Knollys, her jealous cousin and arch-rival. Known as a woman who ruled with her heart, the book more than accurately displays her compassion and humanity throughout the manoeuvrings of the colourful personalities of her Tudor court, the famine in England, uprisings in Ireland, and continued threats from Spain.
The Opium War
by Julia Lovell
British author Julia Lovell starts off by painting a clear picture of the war itself, analyzing the causes and consequences on the way. The book generally reviews the story of modern China, beginning with the war against the West and goes on to examine the country’s contemporary selfimage. It depicts how China’s national myths had shaped its interaction with the rest of the world and how it resonated in China’s defensive behaviour towards the West today.