Prey By The Ganges is a taut and gripping tale which grabs the reader till the end.
Though it is Hemant Kumar’s maiden thriller, he has successfully impressed his readers with his hard-hitting, emotional and intricately woven storyline. The cover instantly grabs your attention. You want to read it, and once you start you cannot put it down till the end of the story.
The book feels good to hold. However, the cover does gives you an idea about the story while still managing to withhold most of it.
The storyline is set in 1948, deep in the heart of eastern India, Bihar, this is a story of fate, of fortune, of friendship, of rage and resistance, of courage and of relationships in all their myriad shades.
Prey By The Ganges is the tale of a few men and women reaching across great divides in one of the most treacherous terrains on earth where turmoil reigns and violence against women exists in its gory forms.
It is an intense tale woven with all the masala a reader craves. It has poverty, abuse, lies, trickery, and mayhem. But it is ultimately a tale of survival. Prey By The Ganges has sex, horror, grief, and can chill readers to the bone. The story is set near the mighty and saced Ganga river, which symbolises salvation from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
The plot revolves around two feuding brothers – both young and handsome Thakurs – fighting an endless battle of wits, guns and lives.
An idealistic young man, son of a traditional bone-setter, picks up the paintbrush instead and goes to live in the mountains, shunning his destiny as a ‘vaidya’. Why does he want a priceless diamond then? The son of a jeweller who fate made a ‘vaidya’ — why is he after the diamond too?
What makes him — a non-violent, unarmed man, handsome and in the prime of his youth — risk his life to douse the anger in his heart? And in the process – his journey – does he discover much more? Much that words cannot express, and that is coveted by all; much that is so invaluable that even a rare priceless diamond pales into valuelessness in front of it?
Prey By The Ganges is the story of one violent night across the Ganga. The author has an eye for detail. Every encounter, every twist and turn, the dialogues, the setting, is well done. One can easily relates to the characters of the plot. The characters being – Thakur Gajanan Singh and Thakur Suraj Singh, Thakurain Leelavati and Thakurain Rajni; Gajanan’s underlings – Ashok for the slightly respectable one, since he is somewhat of a majordomo; and Baabu, Laalten, Kariya and Bhondu – for his henchmen. Etwari – for the child-woman that Thakur Gajanan ravishes at will; Bahuteri for her mother. Shambhu, the Vaidya and Ravi, the painter. Dhibri – the man who burns corpses, and Hariya – the old ranch hand with angry welts across his body and soul.
The two characters that stand out are those of Thakur Gajanan Singh and Vaidya Shambhu Nandan. Despite everything, the author has somehow managed to de-evilise Gajanan.
The story also offers a sneak peek at corruption, patronage, monopolies and cronyism. The author has been able to weave what is essentially a violent, rustic and evocative tale with polish and substance.
His writing is impeccable and blends violence and fear amazingly. All in all, a must read for all booklovers who are looking for something fresh and believe in good writing.
However, one is also forced to think about whether being armed with moral courage, fearlessness, honesty, sensitivity against firearms and weapons.
‘Prey By The Ganges’ makes for a thrilling tale.
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