As I have mentioned it quite often, the perks of being part of Team ThinkerViews gave me an opportunity to know about many talented authors. Their popularity is a totally different aspect. No one becomes famous till his/her first work is published, and for some of them, the journey takes longer. Talent, however, has nothing to do with the same.
A few years ago, we got a chance to read a short story collection named India Unlimited – Stories from a Nation Caught between Hype and Hope by Kulpreet Yadav.
Since then, he was in our radar as his book started hitting the market on the regular bases. And, he got his due fame over the course.
It was tough to chose his next book from the choices we have “Murder in Paharganj” and “The Girl Who Loved a Spy”. Ultimately, we decided to go for “The Girl Who Loved a Spy” as it is extended as a book series featuring the protagonist “Adny Karan“. The idea behind was, if we find the book worthy, we can continue exploring the series :).
|Book Title||:||The Girl Who Loved A Spy
|Published by||:||Rumour Books India ( 6 February 2017)|
|# of Pages||:||174; 465KB (Kindle EBook)|
|# of Chapters||:||21|
This Is Here In For You
Being an entry point to the virtual world explored within, the cover page is responsible for making the first impression of the book (or for that matter, for any media). And, we, humans, by nature are attracted towards beauty. So, it is obvious for us to pick a book to further elaborate it by reading its blurb or casually going through its page, and eventually decide purchasing it (if found worthy, as per our personal inclinations and interests.
As you can see, the cover page of this book is simple yet impactful.
Inspired by spy movie posters, the cover page shows the faceless protagonist in action without showing any action moves. An interesting way to represent the protagonist. The dark attire suits him. The fonts, colors and overall formatting of the textual content is adding to the positive impact of the cover page.
I like the cover page.
Let us take a bird’s eye view of the book plot.
Andy Karan is a reporter working in a Delhi based newspaper with moderate circulation. He has served his time in Indian Armed forces and has promised the authorities to be available in future if his services are needed.
In a small village named Tilakpur, a murder happens. And, Andy was sent there to know more about the same and report it in detail.
His visit to the village however, irked some more questions in his mind. The reactions of his visit to the small village were unexpected. And, it made him thinking about a possible bigger conspiracy is at play.
After having an attack on him, his boss, Monica, asked him to drop the investigation!
He himself wanted to reach to the root of the conspiracy. And, to add to his wishes, he was approached by Mr. Kapoor claiming that he is working for the Government of India, and Andy’s help is needed in an important mission!
Does Mr. Kapoor really work for GOI? What big conspiracy could have been happening that can endanger the National Security and linked to a small village like Tilakpur? Will Andy accept Mr. Kapoor’s offer? Will his magazine allow him do so? Who is “the girl who loved a spy”? Well, you need to read the book to get your answers.
Over the course of the same, you meet with Andy Karan, Moica, Ram Avtar, Rohtas, Gulabo, Dewanchand (Jr. intelligence officer, IB), Brigadier Joshi, Mr. Kapoor, Constable Ramesh Kumar, Hakim, Heena, Krishna Bedi (KB), Kismet Khan, Abdul, Lokhande, Daniel, Kasim bhai, Sultan Shaitan, Bhushan Singh (NSA), Captain Yash Singh, Angela, amongst others.
Views and Reviews:
I will try to avoid spoilers as far as possible, but as you can understand, some of them are inevitable; so please read with your consent.
The story revolves around Delhi, Tilakpur, Rewari, Mumbai, Raigard district, and other places. And, the author brought these places like interesting characters on the book canvas. It would not be wrong to say he made them alive in the book.
Here is how he represent a cold night in a small village.
It was a cold night in Tilakpur, a hamlet outside Rewari, seventy kilometres from New Delhi. Dogs barked at the low clouds that the wind carried over.
He refers to the lifestyle in a village by mentioning:
At nine, the entire village was asleep. It was quiet, like a school after dark.
The author is good at explaining nature. For example, read this simple line:
it was midday and the sun was struggling to break through the clouds.
Or this exotic segment:
The lawn was well kept, and flowers— Dianthuses, Gerberas, and Marigolds— smiled at them from the sides. The ten- foot walls that encircled the twenty- acre farmhouse kept them secluded from the world outside. A Labrador moved about like a detective at work, smelling the grass, its nose wet with dew.
There are place where the author has added some background/additional information about the place he is referring. Readers will like them. For example:
Mumbai is huge— a megacity that was never intended to be one. Created by joining seven islands, Mumbai is a mass of reclaimed land that was passed by the Portuguese to the British as a dowry in Colonial times.
South Block, together with the Rashtrapati Bhawan and North Block, is an imposing building from which the Indian government conducts its security, strategy, and finance business. Constructed with red and cream Dholpur stone from Rajasthan, it was designed by the British architect Herbert Baker, second- incommand to Sir Edwin Lutyens, who designed ‘New’ Delhi. It is identical to the North Block, with a dome at the top.
The author talks about human psyche quite interestingly:
Rich people always yearned for more money, while the poor just wanted enough to eat and provide for a roof over their heads. It was how the world had always been,…
True and hard hitting!
Here are some more such lines:
As a policeman, he had learnt the hard way that first impressions were usually wrong. He knew that rapists, those who committed the most heinous of all known crimes, were the most innocent looking and that the real gangsters resembled senile old- age home inhabitants. The appearances and motivations of people were both deceptive.
Andy was about to smile back but refrained at the last minute. One of the advantages of looking like a fauji was that sometimes people mistook you for a policeman. And neither faujis nor policemen smiled unnecessarily. So he kept his expression stern and gestured the man out.
The most interesting one is though:
The villagers were walking without a worry in the world. They had left all their worries in the good care of God moments ago; they had nothing to fear anymore.
If you love punchlines, you will find many more in this book. Here are some, which I found interesting:
Act brave. If you panic like a pigeon, the cat will pounce on you and eat you.
… the desire to stay in power had turned these politicians weak.
People behaved differently in relationships than they did in their jobs.
If you love spy thrillers and mysteries, where the layers of the central theme of the plot are revealed one by one, like that of an onion, you will like reading this book. Be it Monica or Mr. Kapoor or even a barman, all the characters have their own shades of different colors that makes them interesting.
And, no spy thriller can miss dark humour. As, it is the only way the men always walking on the tightrope situations give themselves a relief. Finding the lines like the following brings a smile on the reader’s face.
He was smiling. So was the dead man, whom he threw face- up on the ground. The rider was smiling because he had achieved his target. The dead man was smiling because he wasn’t aware he had died.
What I like the most in the book is the realistic representation of the protagonist. He has his imperfections, and was outsmarted many times by the people on the wrong side. But, his will, determination, skills and more importantly love for the nation; keeps him walk on the chosen path with conviction. And, that is what make him a real hero. This realistic representation is quite contrary to what we see in big budget movies which are stuffed with visual effects and more, but actually nearest to the ground reality.
For example, here is a line, you cannot disagree with.
Being vigilant 24x7x365 was not possible, and no amount of training could change that.
And, the protagonist’s conviction is:
‘There is nothing more honourable than the work we do in the Indian Army.
If I had to quote only one segment from the book, I will quote the following segment.
‘You are a true soldier… a soldier who risked his life to save the nation from a disaster.’
Andy disagreed with him. ‘Every soldier is a true soldier. If only you people in power understood that basic fact.’
I am intentionally skipping the elaboraiton of various missions, be it at a fort surrounded by water, or at the lavish farmhouse. The readers will enjoy them for sure. The reader will also love exploring the quest of the lady to find out more about a watch being kept on her, after she had a doubt.
If you like wordplays you will surely enjoy the lines like:
He was shaking, the glass of cola exhaling bubbles in front of him sitting untouched.
and the use of words like:
There are a few letdowns in the book. However, they may skip attention of a regular reader, but nonetheless, they should be addressed.
For example, in terms of the research work, the following stuff is what the author got wrong.
‘I named you Anil when you were born, after the Sun God.’
Anil is a Sanskrit/Sanskrut word that that refers to the Wind God, not the Sun God.
We can understand that in terms of technical details of intelligence agencies’ work and weapons, some stuff has to be skipped or wrongly represented, despite the author’s firsthand knowledge of the same, for security reasons.
I must mention the interesting way the author refers to some of the weapons:
‘Gun?’ he asked. ‘. 50 Barrett. M82.’ The commissioner drew in a breath.
The M82 was a close cousin of the M107 that the commandos of the Mumbai police were using.
Like most of such books, this one has its share of content for mature readers only.
The idea behind including the quotes from the book is to provide you a fair idea about various attributes of the book. So, you yourself, can decide whether it is the kind of book you want to go ahead for. And, I hope you must have reached to a conclusion by now.
For me, it is a well written thriller which has the ingrediences of a masala entertainer movie and yet sticks to the realities at many extents. I enjoyed reading this book.
Around 7.5 stars out of 10.
Quick Purchase Links:
- Buy - The Girl Who Loved A Spy by Kulpreet Yadav - Paperback - Amazon IN
- Buy - The Girl Who Loved A Spy by Kulpreet Yadav - Kindle EBook - Amazon IN
- Buy - The Girl Who Loved A Spy by Kulpreet Yadav - Kindle EBook - Amazon US
Over To You:
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