Kunal Basu's panoramic first novel follows the life of a young man as he encounters the flow of the opium trade, from Calcutta to Canton. He gets a job in an 'auction house', only to discover that the 'merchandise' being traded is opium. Disguised as a missionary, Hiran survives cholera, piracy and war in China, arriving back in India to find his homeland on the verge of another rebellion. And he finds himself suddenly father to a half-caste son, the child abandoned by the English owners of the auction house when they fled back in disgrace to Britain. As Hiran dedicates himself to the education of his new son, the cycle of regeneration continues.
Kunal Basu is 42. He was born in Calcutta but has spent much of his adult life in Canada where he teaches at McGill university. For the last year he has lived and worked in Oxford although he travels regularly to Canada, China and India in the course of his work. He has previously published short stories in the London Magazine and other publications.