Book Review #66: Prisoner of Yakutsk

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Name:
Prisoner of Yakutsk
Author: Shreyas Bhave
No. of Pages: 288
Genre: Fiction/Historical Thriller/Mystery/Netaji
Publisher: Platinum Press (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing)
Price: Rs. 399/-
Published in: 2019

How did I get it? From the publisher.

THE BLURB SAYS:

What exactly happened to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose?

• In 1945, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Leader of the INA leaves Singapore to take a series of flights, and dies in Taiwan after his plane crashes near Formosa. Or so it seems.
• In 1947, Mr Mrs Singh, an illustrious army couple, both veterans of the Indian National Army, are last seen in Delhi, and then never again.
• In 1949, the plane carrying the first deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, mysteriously disappears for seven hours.
• In 2012, following the fall of WikiLeaks, a female hacker of the notorious X group is on the run as most wanted by everyone from Interpol to the KGB
• In 2015, the millionaire CEO of a Fortune 500 company suddenly resigns and vanishes from the public eye.
 
A set of seemingly unconnected disappearances emerge to be woven into a single fabric as the answer to one leads to another… In this riveting narrative, bestselling author Shreyas Bhave, takes the reader on a thrilling adventure to solve the greatest mystery the Indian nation has known.
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shreyas Bhave, is an Electrical Engineer from VNIT Nagpur, and is one of India’s youngest experts on Railway Electrification PSI work. He also runs an entrepreneurial community at ourfirstmillion.org. Shreyas’ first three books, the Asoka Trilogy, was published to wide acclaim and acquired for screen adaptation. Prisoner Of Yakutsk is written as a mystery thriller with the disappearance of Subhash Chandra Bose at its core. Apart from writing, Shreyas enjoys song writing, composing music, sketching and watercolours. He plays the guitar and is fond of the blues and southern rock music. He also loves to hike up to the hill forts of Maharashtra.

MY THOUGHTS:

Many years ago, I read an article in a leading Indian national newspaper about one “Gumnami Baba”. According to one theory revolving around the mysterious death of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Netaji didn’t die in the fateful airplane crash but came back to India and spent his life as the”Gumnami Baba”. Ever since I have been intrigued by the topic. So when I was asked by the publisher to choose a book from a given list for review, I couldn’t resist picking up this title.

The author has used “fiction presented as facts” approach for writing this book. I applaud him for doing a thorough research on the controversy and especially for sharing a gist of it with the reader.

The storyline moves to and fro covering two timelines. The protagonist, Jay Rashbihari, a rising technocrat, leaves everything behind in search of his true family line. His search takes him across the globe and finds that his maternal grandparents, Major Anish Singh and Dr. Rupali Singh, had been a secret part of his country’s most controversial history, the mysterious death of Netaji. He finds his match in Tanya Williams, a brilliant and beautiful hacker who partners in his adventure to learn the truth about Netaji’s death.
 
Anish and Rupali are ex-INA veterans and are summoned after India’s independence by the country’s highest authority to go on a secret mission to find the truth about Netaji’s death. They pull together a team for the same with three of their ex-INA colleagues, Harman, Dinesh and Akhtar.
 
The story is fast-paced and has all the ingredients of good “masala” thriller movie. The author has nicely connected the known facts of the Netaji mystery with his characters’ lives. Only in a few parts of narrative, it felt that the writing or description could have been better; like the relationship between Jay and Tanya lacked depth and the complicated relationship of Anish, Rupali and Akhtar could have been handled better. Also, Harman and Dinesh could have been more elaborate characters.

Overall, it is entertaining read and a commendable effort on the part of author to handle one of the country’s biggest controversies in a sensible and intelligent manner.

I give “Prisoner of Yakutsk”

 

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