Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Red Jihad by Sami Ahmad Khan

After Shadow Throne, this was yet another novel based on the India-Pakistan political tension; the difference was the inclusion of Naxalites and the backdrop of the Red Corridor. Red Jihad by Sami Ahmad Khan was a truly enjoyable read with elements of internation espinage and war in the Indo-Pak setting.
I liked Sami's writing style; reminded me of Ludlum. I am not good at analysis of writing styles but found it similar to Ludlum in many ways … introduction of events as well as characters, usage of temporary characters to describe an event (temporary because these characters eventually die within 2-3 pages of their introduction in the event which is often an armed  disaster!!
The story has a constant chain of events which keep you on the proverbial 'edge of the seat' and makes you want to read 'just a few pages more' even when you are way past your bed time and are already feeling drowsy. I have myself spent a few extra minutes at the train station to read through and complete the chapter I was reading during my daily commute.
Sami introduces a nice set of key characters and it is nice to keep discovering different facets of their personalities as the story progresses. A very interesting instrument that Sami uses is the way he begins a chapter which describes an event in action. He doesn't tell you upfront what is happening. Every sentence you read, gives you a perspective of the events happening and you keep wondering what exactly is happening out there. It made for a very interesting read.
The plot itself unfolds over the span of the novel and you are often wondering what the 'plan' is (and so are the characters in the novel). A lot of agencies are mentioned (real/fictional) and too many acronyms are floating around in the book. A Ludlum novel has fewer acronyms thrown around. 
The novel has an armed take-over of a remote 'secret' military base and the subsequent events lead India and Pakistan to war. Yes, an all-out Indo-Pak war is a part of the story and since both are nuclear nations … you know where an Indo-Pak war would lead to. At some point in the story, the war does come to an end (after much human and machine casualties) but that is not the end of the story. The story goes on and there are interesting revelations.
I liked the way Sami has woven the story with India-Pak-China-US relationships as well as the inner non-state players like Naxalites and terrorist groups from Pak-Afghanistan region. He ties them all pretty well.
Also, the fact that the story is set in 2014 makes it very real for the reader. Its not a distant future one is talking about ... 2014 is just about 14 months away; and this alone makes one wonder if the events in the novel could very well be real in near future.
Sami has managed to keep the reader on the edge of the seat all through the novel without letting you relax. He has a very interesting writing style which he uses to weaves the story in a very interesting manner.  I would love to read more of his works.
I would easily recommend this one to anyone who is interested in Ludlum like work.
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1 comment:

  1. Dear Hemant-ji,

    Thank you for the review. I'm glad you liked 'Red Jihad' :)