Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Siege – The attack on the Taj, by Adrian Levy & Cathy Scott-Clark

Book Review

Rating: 7/10

India recently observed 6th anniversary of the unfortunate event of 26th November, 2008 when just 10 terrorists from across the border had held the world’s fourth largest city to ransom. We looked back at the incident when innocent families at CST were shot dead by Ajmal Kasab, who somehow became the face of those attacks – the attacks on India. However, the most shocking picture from that attack was the one with the dome of the Taj Mahal Hotel set on fire.

The Seige, written by Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, takes back its readers to those unfortunate 68 hours starting from the evening of 26th November, 2008. Every incident explained in this book is a real incident from those 68 hours, and that is what gave me goose bumps. The narrative of the story is based on the multiple interviews with the survivors, policemen and journalists, complemented by investigation reports and site visits. So, this is as real as it can get.

While I am not a great fan of the writing style of the authors who have jumped between multiple characters, incidents and places in just a few pages creating confusion, I liked the details that they went into. The book starts with the David Headley story, leading up to Lashkar-e-Toiba and finally to the Taj. For me, there were times when I felt angry about the incompetence of the Indian security forces to manage just ten rats. There were other times when I put down the book to do my google search and reconfirm if all what I’m reading is actually true, because it seemed to be fiction.

Overall, I liked the storyline, I liked the research and I liked the detail. But I think it could’ve been a little less confusing at times, and that it would have gone a little beyond just stating the facts and incidents.

-Arun Sharma

Originally published at

Check my other book reviews here.

Check my Goodreads account.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

And The Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini

Rating: 8/10
Khaled Hosseini is turning out to be my favourite all-time author, thanks to his innovative storytelling style and the honesty in his stories. I have been a big fan of his first two books – The Kite Runnerand A Thousand Splendid Suns – and I was excited when I first knew that his third book was about to release. And I must say it was a great experience reading this book and I was very happy that I picked this book over others in my To-Read list.
This story does not have a lead character like I would have expected, but it’s even more exciting because of the multiple lead characters that it has. This is a story about a family whose three children have been separated by the conditions in Afghanistan and have lived completely different lives in the different parts of the world. While the eldest brother – Abdullah – has moved outside of Afghanistan and grown up with his daughter and wife, the sister – Pari – grew up in Paris with a lady whom she always thought to be her mother. The youngest stepbrother, Iqbal, got lost trying to make his living shuttling between the refugee camps of Pakistan and his parental village of Shadbagh in Afghanistan.
Khaled has told the same story from various perspectives – the perspective of every character in the story. This new style makes sure that you never lose the plot of the story and are always engaged to the story-line across the book. The story transports you very close to the Afghanistan that was marred by the constant fighting, attacks and destruction over decades; to the Afghanistan where the families were separated my miles, dollars and diseases.
I would completely recommend this book to anyone who is looking to read an honest take on the Afghanistan after years of war.
-Arun Sharma

Originally published at

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Chanakya's Chant by Ashwin Sanghi

Hello Friends

This is the third novel by Ashwin Sanghi, I have read.

After reading first two, I was more than convinced that this will be definitely Robert Langdon style treasure hunt type of plot. Post reading The Krishna Key, I was  not very hopeful from this novel.

But, to my surprise this is not  at all Robert Langdon style. This is a novel, where Ashwin drew parallel between story of Chanakya in Ancient India and a story of shrewd modern day politician who simply changes the landscape of Indian Politics.

The plot is not as racy as The Rozabal Line and The Krishna Key and it doesn't gives lots of insights into ancient history and mythologies. But, this novel simply keeps you spell bound till the end.

And, I haven't seen any better way of replicating story of Chanakya, one of the greatest politician ever in the fiction.

This is the best novel by Ashwin Sanghi till date.

Prabal Aggarwal

The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi

Hi Friends

This is the second book by Ashwin Sanghi, I read. Though, I was expecting it to be Robert Langdon Style, but still wanted it to be more, after being thrilled by The Rozabal Line.

But, it was pure Robert Langdon style book. The author created the momentum, and introduced lot of characters, who projected huge potential especially at the climax. But, somehow couldn't do justice to most of them. The climax simply let me down.

Said all that, I must say the author has definitely did lot of research on the very subject of Krishna and Hindu mythology, and entices readers to go deeper in the search of Krishna and myths around him.

I will say the novel is average, but good read, if one doesn't compare it with other books by the author.

Prabal Aggarwal

The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi

Hello Friends

Recently came across this novel. And the topic itself was very intriguing.

Another book on Jesus Christ and his blood line, but with the premises, Jesus died and buried in India.

It was the first book of Ashwin Sanghi, I read. And, I must say the book reminded me of Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.  But, the quality and plot of this novel was very different from Da Vinci Code.

And, I am bound to say we have got Indian Dan Brown finally.

The readers will definitely enjoy this edge of the seat read.

Prabal Aggarwal

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Oath Of The Vayuputra by Amish Tripathi

Hi Friends

Had been off blogging, for about an year. And recently read the most awaited book of the 'The Shiva Triology'.

Normally, in any novel or movie series, the first one is the best one. It sets a benchmark and raises expectations, resulting in anti climax in the sequels. But, this is a rare third and the final book, which is best.

The author, has played very well, with history and mythology . In this novel, he didn't only touch Indian and Tibet history & mythology like the first two books, but tried to actively weave Persian & Zoroastrian mythology into it, and briefly touched Egyptian mythology too. So, he triggered many subplots, which he was not able to close properly. I am not sure, but Amish might have thought about taking these unclosed subplots into full fledged separate series, or prequels.

All in all, very good fiction by an Indian Author, which has triggered new genre of Hindu Mythology, for masses.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Litigators by John Grisham

After long time, I read John Grisham. The other two novels I have read are 'The Firm' and 'The Client'.

The story is about 2 mid aged lawyers, not doing well, and the third one, who is doing well, leaving everything and coming to join them, without any plan. And the story involves one of the biggest pharma companies in the world.

The novel is as racy as 'The Firm' and gives lot of insight into mindset & lifestyle of lawyers and anatomy of mass litigation.

I recommend this legal thriller, to everyone who wants to remain on edge till the end of the reading.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The OFF-SITE TAMASHA by Abhay Nagarajan

Hi Friends

This is the my second reading of Abhay Nagarajan, the earlier one was 'Corporate Atyachaar'.  The story revolves around OFF SITE Team Building Exercise of a corporate. The protagonist and his boss resumed their roles in the earlier book.

Overall it was a good read. But, I think the problem with it is high expectations I had due to fresh style of Abhay's debut book. Moreover some instances in the book, makes it really unrealistic, in the realistic plot. 

In nutshell, I will recommend this book if you haven't read 'Corporate Atyachaar'. And, I expect that Abhay will try to keep freshness and maverick way of story telling up to the mark in his next book.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

From Cubicles 2 Cabins: A survival guide to your first job by Sanket J Danatra

Hi Friends

This book, is as it name suggests, Lots of Good Gyan to survive during first year of Job, by this IIM A passout. And, I think the contents are relevant not all to rookie but to all the professionals.

The book has been written in a very informal manner, covering most of the broad pointers that a rookie should know about. But I think, its too brief to grab a permanent RAM share of Reader’s Hard Drive J. So, I anticipate this won’t be the first book, but first of the series that will follow.

On the flip side, the book needs more structure, and should make better use of Bold, Italics and Frameworks, which definitely involves reader more.

So, in nutshell, I will recommend this book to all the rookies, irrespective of the field they are in. And, hope Sanket after his debut book, will share more Gyan in coming series.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sons of Fortune by Jeffery Arcxher

Hi Friends

I read this book by Jeffery Archer recently.

Throughout the book, I got the feeling of Deja Vu, reminding the story style of ‘Kane & Abel’, ‘First Among Equals’, ‘Only Time Will Tell’.......

I think, Jeffery has written the blocks of instances in his notebook, which when required will be injected in new book, with minor tweaking of names and locations. And I am sure, had he been an MBA, he would have used Microsoft Excel for the same J

Coming to the main story, as always, the master story teller keeps you on edge of the seat. But, the climax couldn’t keep the pace with the built up crescendo. In fact, the most awaited moment of the two main characters meeting with the facts revealed, is treated in very shabby manner.

So, if you haven’t read Jeffery Archer’s other books, I will recommend this book, but if you have, then don’t pick it with many expectations.