I am not a fan of thrillers. I do not read them and they do not interest me. There have been times I have picked up a thriller just like that and surprisingly so loved it. This was one of those. I received an advance review copy of one of Pan Macmillan India's Lead Title, 'The Shadow Throne' by Aroon Raman and tore through it one day. It is that good and it is a thriller set in India and Afghanistan.
'The Shadow Throne' starts with a mysterious murder at Qutub Minar, and from there, the book spirals to an ace journalist Chandrasekhar and his cop acquaintance, Inspector Syed Ali Hassan, trying to uncover one of the biggest political and deadly games ever concocted, which could lead to millions losing their lives. This is not where it stops. There is more. There is ISI, the murky world of Pakistan spy and RAW - the Research and Analysis Wing, the uber-agency of Indian Intelligence, which form the core of the book.
This is again not where it stops - there is also a race of people that were thought of was extinct, and they surface as well, a part of a larger scheme - to claim what is theirs.
Amidst all this is Chandra's history professor friend Meenakshi Pirzada, trying to help him by decoding clues. In novels such as these, there is often mistrust, loyalties are questioned, the best-laid plans go awry, and it all works out in the end. I will not say much about the plot. You need to read the book to discover it and at times be surprised and at others think to yourself, "I knew this was coming".
The writing is fast-paced (as it should be) and definitely well-researched for a book of this proportion. Aroon Raman does a great job of mixing fact with fiction and keeping the reader on his or her toes throughout. The plot is intricate and needs the kind of detailing as mentioned. The use of Hindi and English is interestingly done and not over-used as well, which could become the case, while writing an Indian Thriller. One of the things that did strike me was the potential this plot had to be made into a film. I am sure it will be done in no time.
Like I said, I normally do not read thrillers but somehow the synopsis of this one prompted me to and I am glad I did. The Shadow Throne is an interesting read. You will finish it in a couple of hours. I loved it. I enjoyed the welcome break from literary fiction and will most certainly be looking forward to his second book.
Title: The Shadow Throne; Author: Aroon Raman; Publisher: Pan Macmillan India; Genre: Thriller; Pages: 332; Rating: 5/5