Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review of Kingdom Come

I put the book down and contemplated.

“It can’t be written by a woman.” I heard a voice.

I looked around – I was alone in the room. So who could have spoken so loudly and clearly?

“Yoohoo – here, here, it’s me – your inner voice.”

It did feel strange you speaking to yourself. But it happens to me sometimes. With Aarti V Raman’s Kingdom Come, my inner voice had spoken after a very long time. So something in Kingdom Come had certainly pushed it out of its ‘inner’ sanctum.

“What makes you so sure a woman couldn’t have written this?”

“There’s no way a woman could know so much about defusing bombs, soldiers, terrorists and anti-terrorist organizations. Only a man with access to inside info could have written this.”

“Why can’t a woman have that info?”

Was I freaking crazy, arguing with myself?

“Do you know any woman who knows how to defuse a bomb?”

“Do you know Kalpana Chawla?”

“Uhh – she was the first Indian woman to fly into space.”


The ‘inner’voice disappeared into its inner sanctum.

OK. So getting down to the serious business of reviewing, Kingdom Come by Aarti V Raman has all the ingredients of a Bollywood potboiler – action, emotion, drama, romance to keep you engrossed from beginning till end.

Krivi Iyer works for MI5 – an extremely capable anti-terrorist commando. For five years, he was in love with a colleague’s wife. She was killed along with her husband by a dreaded terrorist called the Woodpecker.

She was pregnant when she died.

Krivi Iyer swore revenge. Investigations revealed that the Woodpecker had a sister.

Krivi is sent to gather ground info on Ziya Maarten – the suspected sibling. She has grown up as an orphan but is a very strong-willed person. With a management degree for which she had worked her ass off, she works for a wealthy family in Kashmir, managing their estate and other affairs related to business. The daughter of the family, Noor, is her BFF.

Krivi infiltrates her business as a manager. He prefers to be alone, speaks only when spoken to and minds his own business. However, the place is Kashmir, which is always on high alert and where terrorist attacks and bomb threats are so mundane they don’t even make it to the front page. So one fine day Krivi finds himself offering to defuse a bomb placed in a kid’s schoolbag, and comes out triumphant. But this triumph makes him a hero in the eyes of Ziya.

He tries to keep himself away but finds the attraction to the na├»ve, sweet and innocent Ziya overpowering his soldierly instincts. In a moment of passion, he leaks out Ziya’s secret – that she is a terrorist’s sister – and stamps ‘The End’ on their short-lived but fiery love.

An year later, Krivi comes face to face with Noor, who is planning to marry her boyfriend Sameth, an officer in the Indian army. He coaxes them to arrange a meeting with Ziya because he wants to apologize. Ziya agrees to come only because of Noor. And that meeting turns into a tragedy…

I don’t think I really need to say that the story is unique and intriguing. It is a challenging task for any writer, and Aarti has done a commendable job.

The structure and the characterizations are professionally handled. It’s not easy for any writer to write a novel of such vastness.

The story begins with Krivy running along the streets of London and his thoughts refusing to be left behind as he runs. The opening itself is a winning run. The whole novel is very visual and you can visualise the locales and the characters.

Especially notable is Aarti's description of how Krivi defuses the bombs. She has done her homework right and I believe she could defuse a real bomb if the need arises. 

Krivy Iyer’s brooding intensity, Ziya’s no-nonsense business acumen and her own feminine desires, Noor’s amazing persistence to marry the love of her life – these characters seem extremely human in the face of incredible events that storm their lives.

On the flipside, I feel that at places the language is unnecessarily complicated.

…deliberately lightening her countenance because she had now gotten a singular insight into Krivi’s character.

It took me some time to figure out what it meant :

She smiled because now she knew who Krivi was.

It’s not as if the book is full of such sentences though, they just keep popping up here and there. But a reader would be happy if things were simple as far as possible. At the same there are some poignant lines too.

Ziya took the fork and shoveled the food in. It tasted like ashes and grief.

In the climax she has taken many liberties.

But only Panetta’s bodyguard got entry because he was the only one who looked like a serious badass.

This is rather difficult to believe, when all other bodyguards were forced to stay out of the real meeting, how could only Krivy be allowed entry? 

But in spite of minor hiccups, Kingdom Come is fast-paced and engrossing.


rezine magazine said...

WOW !!! Hats off for this review.

Neelesh Inamdar said...

Thank you and wishing rezine all the best,

Dola said...

Well etched review, Neelesh.

Neelesh Inamdar said...

Thank you very much Dola. You've always been an inspiration.

Sujata Patnaik said...

I must say Neelesh it was quiet a lively review, more like an audio.

Aarti V Raman said...

Thank you so much Neelesh for taking the time out to read and share your thoughts on my book. Apologies for the late reply. And I very much appreciate your comments and look forward to entertaining you more with my nexts :) Xx Writer Gal

Aarti V Raman said...

Dola, Rezine and was more of an AV commentary than a review. What more can I ask for? :)

Neelesh Inamdar said...

Thank you Sujata for the appreciation. Aarti glad you liked it.