Goodreads blurb: Five years after 26/11 – the siege of terror in Mumbai that brought the country to its knees – India still seeks justice. The terrorists who planned it have disappeared into the darkness they emerged from and Mumbai seethes with fury. All the Indian government has achieved is the establishment of counter-terrorism committees.
But one man will stop at nothing in his quest to avenge the dastardly act. Retired Lt Gen. Sayed Ali Waris of the Indian army masterminds a covert mission with a team of daredevil agents: a sharp policeman, a suave tech expert, a cerebral scientist and two battle-hardened army officers. They strike like lightning even as they are pursued by the Pakistani army and the ISI, combing through every land and possibility in pursuit of the deadly killers. From Sweden to Istanbul, through Dubai, Pakistan and Singapore, they annihilate the perpetrators with single-minded focus, veiling the deaths as natural ones to save the Indian government diplomatic and political embarrassment. The stakes have never been higher.
This is a nifty, edge-of-your seat thriller with an intricate plot and jaw-dropping twists. As Waris and his team navigate untold dangers towards a nail-biting climax, will Mumbai finally be avenged?
At the outset let me be honest in confessing that I picked up Mumbai Avengers by S Hussain Zaidi believing it to be a non-fictional book which dealt with the Mumbai underworld, which is the genre that this author generally dabbles with (all his previous books have been on this subject), and I thought it probably had to do something with a few vigilante gangsters in Mumbai avenging some wrong done to them. It therefore came as quite a surprise when I read the blurb and figured out that this was the rare occasion on which the author had actually penned a fictional book, that too in the spy thriller genre, and the blurb more than interested me in what the book might have to offer.
And when the action ended, and the dust settled after the breakneck pace at which the book hurtled along, I have to say that I am immensely satisfied and truly am left licking my lips in anticipation of more such fictional spy thrillers from the author if he so deigns to oblige his fans (of which he will have many more after this book for sure).
As the blurb reads, a group of covert agents who are not even authorized by the Indian Government or any of their agencies, under the able leadership of Retd Lt Gen Sayed Ali Waris of the Indian army, decide to stop kowtowing the Government line and wait for justice to be done to the main perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. A couple of battle hardened army men, a brutish policeman, a tech savvy Bengali and a femme fatale who also doubles up as the cyber/cerebral scientist; quite the motley crowd, aren’t they? And under the guidance of Waris, they set off on a journey of revenge which takes them from Delhi to Istanbul to Stockholm to Birmingham to Islamabad and Karachi in Pakistan.
Now, if the places and cities mentioned in the above paragraph were not enough to pique your interest, the fact that their targets were the five masterminds behind the planning and execution of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks will surely get you interested. The author’s expertise in writing about the underworld, and his wide contacts with people from intelligence agencies and the armed forces means that he has left no stone unturned when it comes to describing the revenge plans in great detail. In fact, as one reads the book it is quite hard to believe that this book is the author’s first attempt in this genre, and the book itself has the feel of a seasoned veteran author of this genre. This speaks volumes for the amount of homework that he has done and the sheer amount of groundwork that he has put into this book itself.
The narrative is taut and doesn’t allow readers to pause even for a moment to catch their breath. All the action in the narrative is extremely believable and the author does have the gift to allow the readers to visualize the scenes as if they are happening right in front of their very own eyes. And in books in this genre, both the above play a pivotal role in ensuring that the book ends up being a good one, and not just another mediocre one.
Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in return for a honest and unbiased review.