The Sialkot Saga, by Ashwin Sanghi is a thriller based on lives of two characters called Arvind & Arbaaz. Arvind comes from a Marwari business family, and Arbaaz is someone who starts off as a goon; and the character evolves with every 100 pages in the book.
Arvind and Arbaaz begin as strangers, leading their lives in a mutually exclusive manner. The two characters are as different as chalk and cheese, but Ashwin manages to weave an intrinsic plot which culminates to Arvind and Arbaaz becoming each others arch nemesis.
The plot of the book on face value might seem like a mix of three books by Jeffrey Archer. In a way, The Sialkot Saga is a mix of Kane and Abel, Not a Penny More; Not a Penny Less and The Fourth Estate by Archer. But, it’s the hypnotic style of Sanghi’s narration that makes this book; and all of the past books written by him, an absolute delight to read.
The book starts with a mysterious prologue. Moving forward, lives of Arbaaz and Arvind’s are segregated in decades starting all the way from 1950s to 2010. At the start of every decade, there’s another story that talks about a secret that originated thousands of years before Arvind and Arbaaz.
Very few authors would have the gumption to execute such an intricate plot and three story lines with such finesse and ease. Right from his debut with The Rozabal Line, Ashwin likes to toss the mind of the reader from one track to another. Personally, I fell in love with this form of narration in his book The Chanakya’s Chant, which continues to be one of my favorite books in thriller genre.
What makes the narration of The Sialkot Saga, a masterpiece in its own right is how effortlessly Ashwin Sanghi collates characters like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Karma Tshering, Abdul Dada, Paromita, Abhilasha, Vinay, Adhyapika Jyoti, Alisha and many others, connects the dots and most importantly; connects Arvind and Arbaaz.
What raises the bar even further is that these characters are intertwined beautifully in some of the most significant historical events like 9/11 attacks, 1993 bombing, attacks of 26/11, dot com bubble burst, stamp paper scam, IPL, etc.
The dizzy cocktail of these characters and events will definitely keep the reader hooked, wondering and guessing what turn will the story take in the next few pages. Even here, Ashwin manages to remove one rabbit after another.
The Sialkot Saga in many ways is like experiencing a roller coaster without moving from your seat. So, brace yourself and start reading, NOW.
Disclaimer 01: A copy of this book was sent to the blog through the Flipkart blogger program.
Disclaimer 02: Ashwin Sanghi is one of my favorite author, but this is an absolutely unbiased review. The Sialkot Saga is genuinely a very good book and I’d definitely recommend it to anybody who wants to read a book that’s a mix of Indian History post Independence, philosophy and a thriller.