Title: A Friend Like Karna
Author: Madhav Thapar
Published in :2017
Publisher: Notion Press
Inspired by the heroic and legendary Karna, this book is a contemporary dramatic novel set against the backdrop of modern Corporate India. Thrills, suspense and a tender underlying love story ensure that the book moves at a very fast pace and keeps the reader engaged right until the unpredictable end.
The characterization is sharp and vivid with each actor playing a significant role in the evolution of the story. You will recognize many of the locales, names and references to the glamour word, and on the dark side, the Mafia, which ensures that the reader establishes an immediate connect with the plot. An important aspect is that even though it is an action filled book with a strong alpha male at the center of the plot, the female characters emerge as equally strong and admirable and are extremely important to the story.
The narrative itself is in a unique mix of first person and third person story-telling and shifts effortlessly across locations and time lines. Each sub plot of significance is brought to a logical conclusion and is cleverly inter weaved to be a part of the main story line.
Some of my favorite lines from the book which create enough curiosity and suspense are:
“Two wise men, one common problem, different conclusions. As the two stalwarts procrastinate, the wheels of fate continue to spin on relentlessly….”
“Crime only pauses, it never ceases”
“A few hours later a call is placed to Karachi on a burner phone. The recipient: one of the most wanted men in the world, but also someone who does not officially exist in the country he lives in.”
It is a book best read in one sitting and indeed it is hard to put down. As it progresses from scene to scene, frame by frame, there is always the burning question in the readers mind: “So, what will happen next?”
The Prologue and Epilogue are the two bookends of the entire narration, with the conclusion of the theme coming in the very last lines.