The Karachi Deception – Shatrujeet Nath – Book Review


Goodreads blurb: Project Abhimanyu — an audacious plot hatched by the RAW and Indian Army intelligence to assassinate Mumbai’s dreaded underworld don Irshad Dilawar, who’s hiding in Pakistan and assisting the ISI in its proxy war against India.

Major Imtiaz Ahmed is picked to lead the special ops mission deep inside Pakistan — but the ISI and Dilawar are several steps ahead of the Indians. Beaten at every turn, Major Imtiaz is faced with the horrifying realization that Project Abhimanyu has been compromised… and his men are being lured into a deadly trap.

Set against the backdrop of global terrorism, Shatrujeet Nath’s debut novel is a quintessential spy thriller where nothing is what it seems — and treachery is a constant companion.


While The Karachi Deception is the debut book of author Shatrujeet Nath, it is not the first book of his that I read. In fact I so thoroughly enjoyed The Guardians of Halahala (link to my review) that it prompted me to pick this book of his and man, was this book fun to read or what.

Having been brought up on a staple diet of Frederick Forsyth and some other really good spy thriller writers, I have been exposed to more than my fair share of books in this genre. Add to this the fact that I absolutely enjoy watching movies as well in the spy action thriller genre meant that I have had more than my fair share of exposure to stories and plots in this genre. And believe me when I say this The Karachi Deception can easily be put alongside some of the all-time great books of this genre and can easily stand its ground when compared with them as well.

As the blurb reads, the narrative itself deals with Project Abhimanyu, an operation involving three Indian commandos deep inside Pakistan who find themselves being outsmarted, outwitted and in general failing at every step of their mission. The reasons for their failures, their subsequent Plan B (and even Plan C), the frenetic working-behind-the-scenes at the Project HQ back in India and the final confrontation, all of these make up for a true blue page turner, blockbuster of a book.

Given that the setting is so close to home, the protagonist based on a famous gangster that most of us are aware of, and the overarching plot involving global terrorism in our own neighborhood, it was a no-brainer that I would go on to enjoy the book. And the fact that the author has managed to weave a thoroughly researched, well-paced, and wonderfully written book using all of the above elements meant that this is one book that was a breezy read. Here’s hoping that the author manages to pull out some time from his Vikramaditya trilogy of books and churns out a few more in this genre, as this book clearly proves that he truly has the flair to write some really good books in this genre as well.

Click here to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link].

The Guardians of the Halahala – Shatrujeet Nath – Book Review


Goodreads blurb: The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.

But was the Halahala truly destroyed? A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.

As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!

A sweeping tale of honor and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.


Very few authors have the ability to take mythological stories, characters and situations, imbibe them into plot narratives and make their plots convincing and interesting enough. And man, has Shatrujeet Nath succeeded in doing that with the first book in The Vikramaditya Trilogy, The Guardians of Halahala or what!!!

Regular readers of my blog will know my affinity and liking for Indian mythology, the epics and the numerous stories that this genre has to offer. In fact, on more than one occasion I have used this blog to write about Indian mythology and stories from the same. While I don’t consider myself an expert or anything even remotely close in this genre, the truth is that I have read more in this genre than the average reader has and therefore my exposure to the same is just that little more. And trust me when I say this, starting from the very premise that some of the Halahala escaped being swallowed by Shiva and linking it up to the famed ‘navaratnas’ in Vikramaditya’s court in Ujjayini, the author simply impressed me from the first page of this book itself.

How he has managed to re-imagine the concept of the nine councilors and their loyalty to the king, how he manages to imbibe elements of the debauchery and arrogance of Indra, how the guile of Shukracharya proves to be invaluable to the cause of the asuras at the end; all of these and more make up the first book of what promises to be a wonderful trilogy. I know I am lavishing quite a bit of praise and that too unconditionally, but trust me, this book deserves it and more.

As if the threats from the devas and the asuras trying to recover the Halahala for themselves wasn’t enough, the Hunas and Sakas hover dangerously close to the northwestern borders and the eastern borders are in war with the Magadhan princes taking a dangerously violent stance. Handling the action simultaneously happening in almost all parts of Sindhuvarta, the author keeps readers on their toes waiting to read about what happens next in almost all the pieces. And the fact that all the action in the book doesn’t come at the cost of character development means that the author is fully aware of his craft and knows how to successfully balance the narrative and character development by keeping both of them in good check throughout the book.

Here and there, the author also leaves behind some small hints of what is to come in terms of character development. For example, there is a brief mention about how the nine guardians themselves aren’t quite fully aware of the extent of their powers, and also, how and why the first book ends the way it does is also something that the author probably has left for the second book to explain. This suspense works well in terms of the fact that all readers of this book will be left thirsting for the second book in the series and will surely wait for it with bated breath. I will, for sure.

Click here to purchase the book from Flipkart [Link] or Amazon [Link].


Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was offered to as part of the Reviewers Programme on The Tales Pensieve, probably India’s largest repository of book reviews written by Indian authors. However, the views above are completely my own and unbiased in any form or fashion.