Home / Books / The 3rd Survivor: A Unit 22 Thriller By Mainak Dhar | Book Review

The 3rd Survivor: A Unit 22 Thriller By Mainak Dhar | Book Review

As our regular readers and listeners know, we love reading thrillers.

As a general rule we don’t discriminate between the seasonsed authors and those who are just a few books old.

It helped us in finding some worthy authors whose writings are sometimes even better than some of the few “celebrity” authors.

Mainak Dhar is one such author.

We got a chance to read many books penned by him.

We also had an interaction with him in the form of an author interview.

Currently we are reading his latest thriller series – Unit 22 Thrillers.

Book Title : The 3rd Survivor
A Unit 22 Thriller Unit 22 Thrillers - 3
Author :
# of Pages : 238; 1641 KB (Kindle EBook)
# of Chapters : 9
Purchase Link(s) :

We’ve already shared our views and reviews for the following installments from the same:

Today we are going to talk about the third book in the series – The 3rdrd Fugitive.

Book Cover:

Based on human tendency to like beautiful things, the books with attractive covers tend to catch the attention of a large number of casual browsers and potential book readers. Thus, a little discussion about the cover page of a book is expected, right?

The 3rd Survivor | A Unit 33 Thriller |. Mainak Dhar | Book Cover

The 3rd Survivor | A Unit 33 Thriller |. Mainak Dhar | Book Cover

As you can see the cover page of The 3rd Survivor is quite interesting.

You can see the lone wolf (the protagonist) running in the middle of a hilly terrain. The sense of urgency is represented via the surrounding. The dark mountains and sunny glow in the background represents a ray of hope in the dark times.

A well thought cover page that uses the colors which are not hard on the eyes.

I like it.


Major Aditya Sen, a former para-commando, has made peace with desk job now. After both the successful missions(!) he learnt the art of dealing with bureaucracy a little. The loss of his buddies in the army and team-mates during his desk-job tenure is still giving him tough times. He seems to have learnt the art to keep those emotions to himself, by now. The personal loss is something one needs to learn cop-up with.

He was sent to a base in south India where he spent good time with the people matter to him. And, then his mission was informed to him. He needed to deliver a “package” to the authorities in a neighboring country.

After knowing about the “package” he was not very happy. Also, after delivery he felt bad vibes. But, a duty is a duty and personal sentiments has no place there.

He was then given an another mission to take home a few fellows from another neighboring country.

The mission was not only dangerous, over the course, it started falling in “impossible” category.

So, will the mission be accomplished? Who are the ones Aditya and his team needs to bring India safely? Will his bad feelings for previous mission settled?

The 3rd Survivor | A Unit 33 Thriller |. Mainak Dhar | Book Cover

The 3rd Survivor | A Unit 33 Thriller |. Mainak Dhar | Book Cover

Well, you need to read this thriller to get answers to your questions. Over the course, you will meet with Major Aditya Sen, Unni, Pratap, Kishore, and Bahadur, Salil Murthy, Srini Iyer (the Additional Secretary, R&AW), Ankit Sharma, Bharathi, Vihaan, Kishore, Pratap, Aryaman, Malini Khatri (Deputy Secretary from the Ministry of External Affairs), Anh, Arakan Army, Colonel Hlang, Ajit Duhan (the National Security Advisor), Captain Aryan Mohan, Tenzin Niyima, Amala, Sonam, Apeksha Haldia, Garima Shwetabh Mathur, amongst others.

Views and Reviews:

I always find strong characters in Mainak’s books and this one is no exception. While he don’t give strength to the characters based on their gender, caste, creed, religion, social status etc, he also make sure that age also don’t matter. In this book, the young characters (whom you may want to call kids at times)and their will power mesmerizes the reader.

Like all the thrillers setup in the backdrop of geopolitics, armed forces and national security agencies, this book also contains line that reveal some important details in a matter-of-fact-ly tone. For example:

Namely, we went out on missions that never officially happened and killed enemies we never officially killed.

And, this is how they are assigned the deadliest of the missions:

“Gentlemen, your mission is simple. Go in an unmarked flight to Putao in northern Myanmar and hand over the three fugitives back to their authorities.”

The protagonist is very clear about how to behave during the battle.

A lot of what made us succeed was not just tactics, weapons, and violence, but the fact that we needed the discipline and training to sometimes do nothing. To wait and watch. And then strike.
– – – – – –
Never fight fair. It was only in the movies that the good guys squared up face to face against the villains, trading punch for punch, bullet for bullet.

And he reaffirms the fact that not everything can be settled by having political discussions and dossiers.

…the world would not magically become a better place, that oppressors would not one day suddenly see the folly of their ways and leave. Change sometimes came not through speeches and visions, but through action.

The author is good at elaborating the thought-process and behavior pattern of these fighters. Eg:

The officer was whistling something. As soldiers, we often did shit we had to do, including killing people we didn’t particularly want to kill, but what separated us from monsters was the fact that we didn’t enjoy it. This guy seemed to be enjoying the fact that he and his men had just killed a bunch of unarmed monks in cold blood.

When you spent most of your time staying alert and fighting the odds, you lean towards dark-humor to keep yourself sane. In this book, you will find lines full of dark-humor and satire, making the characters and the set-up look more authentic.

I saw Sharma peer outside the window as if he could catch a glimpse of a Chinese SAM operator waving at him.
– – – – – –
I can see that you’re in the mood to cause trouble.” “I’m smiling, aren’t I? I’m being my friendliest self. Any friendlier and they’ll nominate me for the Nobel Peace Prize.”
– – – – – –
The colonel cleared his throat again. Did the man have a sore throat? Did he expect me to offer him some Vicks Throat Drops or some cough syrup?

Without the exploration of love and emotional no depiction of human behavior can be complete. I will have to avoid many such lines, but I think I can surely quote the following one elaborating an interesting thing about mothers 🙂

Trust mothers to get the point across, without saying much.

It is easy to add “jingoism” when patriotism and thrills are weaved in the story. A good author underplays his role and keeps the character grounded. Mainak does the same thing in this book. Look at this line for example:

Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid but being able to keep going despite being afraid.”

The book also takes a note about the harsh truth.

Those experiences had taught me that combat on the battlefield was comparatively simple- you knew who the enemy was. In these shadowy battlefields, it was not so clear, and you sometimes needed people like me, who could break the rules or not care what they were in the first place, cut through the red tape, and get things done.

The authentic details about cross-border stuff, the deployment of the forces from various countries across the border and the convincing details about various terrains, will surely grab a reader’s attention. The entire journey in Tibet, the climbing and descending mountain peaks and staying for a while in a farm-house are something that stay with you even after you complete reading the book. Also, the emotional moments between the “packages” and Aditya and his team will glue you to the story and give utmost satisfaction of reading a worthy thriller.

The 3rd Survivor | A Unit 33 Thriller |. Mainak Dhar | Book Cover

The 3rd Survivor | A Unit 33 Thriller |. Mainak Dhar | Book Cover

Telling more than this will include spoilers, so I have to stop here. However, I am sure that you must have got a fair idea about the book and quality of writing within it. So, you can decide whether it meet with your reading preferences.
The author uses words like “anyways” which are usually found in most of the modern books and TV Serials. Also, some action scene require the reader to be a mature one.


Overall, an interesting thriller with the right dose of various ingredients you expect in such books. Strong characters, explorations of various terrains and battlefields, chase and fights through the mountains, spine-chilling thrills and limited set of light moments makes it a complete package. I liked reading it.

ThinkerViews Rating:

Around 8 stars out of 10.

Quick Purchase Links:

Over To You:

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