He is a spy in debt with a drinking problem! He sells out to the other side to escape the loan sharks he has borrowed from to fund his favorite drink “Old Mon”? But is he a defector or a double agent? A defector, no wait a double agent! No that’s not it – he is a defector but maybe not..he is definitely a double agent! This is the tone of this book that just seems to go from one point to another with some torture techniques thrown for entertainment(or maybe its education). There are characters from the IAG (Intelligence Assessment Group), the ISI, the Indian foreign relations office, the Al-Queda and more! To boot there is also a woman involved in what seems like an entire male bastion and of course when there is a woman involved there has got to be some romance, right?
The book starts with the main protagonist, Ritwik jumping sides from the IAG to the pro-Taliban part of the ISI. After some slow chapters that describe how he is secretly moved to a shack at a secret U.K location by a team of this pro- Taliban group, the book just seemed to move from one confusing event to the next without making much sense – at least to me 😦 At many sections during the book, the reader is left wondering whether Ritwik is a hero, an alcoholic or a traitor and I am guessing that it was the intention of the author to bring in this mystery factor to keep his readers wondering about the character of the main protagonist but then after a point it time it just got too boring! At least it my case it only sought to confuse me more than anything…
There there is all this talk about the ISI and strategies to flush out the pro-taliban lot, of secrets plots hatched to uncover those that are trying to sell- out to the U.S and U.K, spies inside the ISI and IAG, references to 9/11 and those that are trying to feed each other wrong information in order to uncover greater plots, locating Bin-laden and more! There are just too many things going on at the same time, that it was difficult for me to digest one event before moving on to the next.
As if this was not enough, our hero falls in love with the pretty and timid (cliche anyone?)wife of one of his kidnappers – an extreme pro-talibanist who happens to beat his wife and treat her like an object! yes..my head was spinning by the time the hero professed his love to the woman and she returned his feelings in a jiffy, just like that! It just didnt make any sense considering she was an orthodox woman, tuned to the crazy ways and life style of her husband. But then is this true love and is she everything that she seems like?? Will they ride off into the sun-set together?
Honestly, the way the book ended reminded me of some crazy Bollywood movie where everybody tries to outwit the other one and the hero and his boss even fool the crazy bad guys with a revolver without bullets(very original) and a bunch of guys in uniform shoot bullets into the bad guys head! Honestly, it was enough to make be heave a sigh of relief and put the book down!
I don’t believe I would have finished the book, if I was not reviewing it…I expected a thriller with a general dose of humor which does peep out every now and then thanks to the sarcastic comments of our hero, but then I felt that the author had kind of lost track on what the USP of his book was – was it supposed to be an international spy thriller like the Bourne legacy or a book like the James Bond series – this was probably a cross between the both with a lot less frills and thrills, too many names and plots along with a slow narrative. And if you are wondering what the title of the book has to do with the story – I think it’s probably because it’s still winter in the U.K when all these events take place and there is a lot of snow around and by the time the book ends, the snow has started to melt…..if this is not really the reason, I beg the authors forgiveness or that of the other readers who probably have understood the real meaning behind the title.
Sorry dear author nothing personal, but this was not my kinda book. But I am thankful that the book was not too long… 🙂 I will end by saying, go for it only if you can make sense of plots and languages of crazy international crime thrillers or are a die-hard fan of spy stories…If any of you who are crazy about such a genre have reviewed this book I would like to know your thoughts. If you do not fall in this category the book is not definitely for you!