When I first read about Baramulla Bomber
I was intrigued. One, because I've read some great trilogies over the recent
years (this too is Eka, part I of a
Trilogy) and two, because the concept of the book sounded very interesting.
It is an ambitious novel to say the
least, spread across multiple countries – Sweden, Norway, the USA and closer
home Pakistan, China and India.
It is peppered with characters as
diverse as ever - a Kashmiri cricket player, a Swedish intelligence agent, a
Pakistani scientist, an Indian Defence Minister and many many more.
It has international relations, politics,
border skirmishes, religion and even some cricket thrown in for good measure.
What more could one ask for?
A blast is heard in Kashmir’s Shaksgam
valley that flattens out an entire area.
A dying Swedish agent leaves a coded message
before he succumbs to mysterious injuries.
A mountaineering team disappears without
Indian agencies suspect a secret weapon was
tested in the valley. Pakistani sources insist it was a mining accident while
others say it was an earthquake.
If it was a weapon what kind was it? If Pakistan is readying
to use it how can it be stopped? Was it the same that killed the Swedish spy? Those
are the questions that are bothering India’s Defence Minister Agastya Rathore.
But Pakistan is not his only worry, China is readying for an offensive at India’s
And amongst all this is Mansur – a simple Kashmiri man who
dreams of being a part of the National Cricket team without ever really
believing it possible.
The novel is pacey and you do find yourself turning the pages
eagerly enough. And here's a warning - This is not a book you can read with the kids running around or the TV blaring. So if you really want to enjoy it look out for a quiet corner.
My problem with the book is it's climax. The buildup is exciting but the climax is a bit of a letdown.
Perhaps due to the nature of the weapon, it doesn’t leave as huge an impact as promised
by the beginning. I found myself saying “Is that it?”
Also, although there are a number of characters, the books loses
out for lack of a single, charismatic all impacting hero and on the other side there
is no single truly malicious, malevolent villain. That’s purely a personal view - that’s how I like a book to be.. specially a thriller.
Then there are some unanswered question?
What’s the story of Agastya’s wife?
Are the members of the mountaineering team dead or alive?
When the guardians meet – if the meeting was such a huge
secret - how come an outsider was near the site?
Of course there are Part 2 and 3 in the offing. I’m hoping I’ll
get my answers then.