This was a great book club read, very popular with the members.
The story of Burma and its neighbours, so if you are a fan of India or Indian novels, this is also a book for you because it features quite a few Indian characters, as well. I love historic novels and this is one that's really worth reading. Of course, like all novels telling about history, there are a lot of sad sides to this book but it definitely is worth reading. It's worth writing down a "family tree" while reading, it helps remembering the connections between the characters - there are a lot.
We discussed this in our book club in February 2005.
Amitav Ghosh is a promising new author for me. I read several of his books later, you can find the reviews here.
From the back cover: "Set in Burma during the British invasion of 1885, this masterly novel by Amitav Ghosh tells the story of Rajkumar, a poor boy lifted on the tides of political and social chaos, who goes on to create an empire in the Burmese teak forest. When soldiers force the royal family out of the Glass Palace and into exile, Rajkumar befriends Dolly, a young woman in the court of the Burmese Queen, whose love will shape his life. He cannot forget her, and years later, as a rich man, he goes in search of her. The struggles that have made Burma, India, and Malaya the places they are today are illuminated in this wonderful novel by the writer Chitra Divakaruni calls 'a master storyteller.'"