There are some series that are much anticipated for a reader. For me, one such series is the Vikramaditya Veergatha series by Shatrujeet Nath. The previous book surpassed my expectations from the first book in the series. I was hoping that The Vengeance of Indra, the third book, would be even better.
When it comes to sequels, the book has to be just as amazing as the previous book in the series, if not better. I’ve awaited this book, The Conspiracy at Meru, ever since I finished reading the first book, The Guardians of the Halahala. The author, thankfully, had the patience to withstand my constant enquiry on the release date of this book. Two years after I reviewed the first, I finally put my thoughts to words on this sequel.
Mythology is a genre I’ve grown up reading, and hearing, thanks in no small part to my grandmother. The tales of monarchs & avatars, and devas & asuras are still vivid in my mind. Two tales that have managed to keep me engrossed as well as make me thoughtful are that of the Samudramanthan, churning of the ocean by devas and asuras for the nectar of immortality, Amrit; and the tales of Vikram-Betaal. I’ve wondered how the former brought out even divine beings like the winged horse, Ucchaishrava or the white elephant Airavata; and the latter of course, made me contemplate the answers to Betaal’s questions before Vikrama answered them. It was with much eagerness that I stepped into a tale woven combining the two events — The Guardians of the Halahala, by Shatrujeet Nath.
About the author:
Shatrujeet Nath went through a few professions before finding his calling in business journalism. He worked as Assistant Director at The Economic Times before quitting journalism to write fiction. This is his debut work. He is also working on his second book which will be this first part of a trilogy.
Impressions from the cover:
It gives nothing away, other than the possibility of action and gunfights involved. The barbed wire is indicative of a border.
Impressions from the blurb:
Action seems promised and with it being a thriller, I think that is expected. It also gives a possibility of inside interference and treachery involved which makes it more interesting to see how the protagonist battles those odds.
I’ll give you a gist of what to expect first. We begin with an assassination attempt on a man who is wanted by a lot of intelligence agencies and governments across the world. However, Irshad Dilawar escapes that attempt by the skin of his teeth. Then we’re taken to a secret meeting between the heads of the Indian Army intelligence and RAW. We are taken to details of an ambitious plan to assassinate Dilawar in his own backyard in Pakistan. Imtiaz Ahmed, the leader of a special unit in the Indian marines, Unit Kilo, is chosen to lead that mission. At the same time, Musa Zawawi, Loya Pathan and Zeb Kirkland, the men behind the foiled assassination attempt launch a second attempt, determined not to fail. After putting much effort into his mission, Imtiaz begins to realize someone has compromised the mission and begins to take steps to ensure the mission’s success, opening another Pandora’s Box. Indeed, nothing is as it seems.
The quintessential characteristic of a thriller is its ability to keep the reader from putting the book down. It is my frank opinion that Shatrujeet’s debut does that. Having begun the book late last night, it took me just a few hours to finish it. To be descriptive and yet create a pace that keeps me interested in knowing what the next page has to offer is pure brilliance. The characters are placed strategically and their actions mostly accounted for. I quite like the character of the protagonist Imtiaz, for his character feels just like the person to recruit for a mission… brave, obstinate and focused, as well as commanding the loyalty of his fellow soldiers. Even the locations seem to have been well thought of. The twist in the tale is unexpected and till the part where it is justified, it seems improbable if not impossible. The smart thinking of Imtiaz’s rivals to foil the mission is also well thought of by the author. The ending of the book also made me smile for its wit and seamless incorporation.
What I wish it had was a little more insight into the target’s frame of mind. You have Dilawar being ferreted from Quetta to Karachi, then to some other remote village safe house etc. with the threat being known to him. I’d have loved to know Dilawar’s thoughts – Was he afraid? Was he calm? Did he feel safe under the people who were protecting him? It’s hard to really fault this book actually. In thrillers, one does find a thread to be incomplete at times, and though I thought there was one, on re-examination I realized that it wasn’t so. If I were to point something out, it would be a small mistake where Pathan identifies Hossam al-Kamil as the mercenary for the second attempt but Zawawi hadn’t mentioned him by name in their conversation at all. But it was a minor miss and didn’t affect the story in any way though. There were a couple of typos but that’s not something big. The thing that needed to be big however was the font size of the novel. It was a size too small for my liking.
In a time where chick-lits and romance novels seem to be thriving in the Indian publishing scene, this spy thriller offers a refreshing change and something I enjoyed reading. I offer my thanks to Shatrujeet who was kind enough to send me a signed copy for review. This goes into my favorites shelf.
Title: The Karachi Deception
Author: Shatrujeet Nath
Publishers: Westland/Grey Oak
Price: INR. 225
(May 26th, 2013)