Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: The Shadow Throne by Aroon Raman

Unusual thrillers are a rarity. Blended with politics is indeed something which has to pondered and read about. Author Aroon Raman in his book "The Shadow Throne" has something up his sleeve for the readers in the form of thriller. So has it enough thrills in it? Let's find out. 

A mysterious murder at the Qutub Minar triggers a call to ace journalist Chandrasekhar from his cop acquaintance, Inspector Syed Ali Hassan. The victim is unlike anyone Chandra has ever seen: a white Caucasian male who has all the looks of a throwback to Greek antiquity. Soon after, Hassan calls in to report the case has been taken away from him in all likelihood by RAW the Research & Analysis Wing, the uber-agency of Indian intelligence.What began as a murder enquiry soon morphs into a deadly game of hide-and-seek within the shadowy world of Pakistan’s ISI and India’s RAW; and Chandra, his friend history professor Meenakshi Pirzada and Hassan find themselves in a race against time to avert a sub-continental nuclear holocaust. As the action moves to its hair-raising climax among the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan, Chandra must face up to the fact that Inspector Hassan is not all that he seems…

First look at the cover and the title and the smell of a thriller cooking hits the readers senses. The cover image could have been more thought provoking than what it is right now. The titles arouses interest and intrigues one's mind. The blurb talks about few people and some escalating tensions between India & Pakistan. It's a blurb which could have concealed a lot more than what it has in it right now. 

The story starts with Chandra a journalist who is devastated by the loss of his wife and is a loner. He is suddenly brought on a case by his friend Inspector Hassan involving the murder of a Caucasian male in Qutub Minar. Things are not clear leading to the mystery behind the death of the man as overnight developments throw the whole investigation off course. From there on it's a struggle for survival as it's a much more deeper controversy spanning over three countries and making everyone run for their lives and to protect the nation's interest. So what will happen to Chandra & Hassan? What role Meenakshi and the govt. plays in the entire incident? What will be the fate of India & Pakistan? That's what the story is all about. 

It's a cruising thriller with a lot of emphasis on the relations of India-Pakistan and India-Afghanistan and some fiction thrill in the form of murder, mystery and some deep dark secrets few ancient and few present. The pace is very fluid and taxing for the readers. Deep analysis of the political scenario and real life incidents make it all the more exciting for the readers. The story is very action packed towards the end and in the second half. 

The downside of the book is it's dragging nature. It could have been easily cut down by keeping some narrations and details short. The historical angle doesn't makes an exciting prospect at times. It's found wanting at times in the whole story. The first half could have been revved up more in terms of thrill. 

All in all it's a very different kind of approach to a thriller with both political and historical angle involved in it. The book is found short of entertainment at times but at the same time has a lot of potential to keep the interest aroused of the readers. It's a mix of past. present and a looming future. 


3 OUT OF 5 

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