The Hunt for the Kohinoor


Image Courtesy: World Wide Web
Image Courtesy: World Wide Web

A spine-chilling ninety-six hour hunt through the world’s most dangerous terrain where history collides with gunfire – will Mehrunisa get out of this one alive?

One morning on her way to work, Mehrunisa gets a call that will change her life forever. The truth about her missing father is at her fingertips – but it will take her on the most desperate chase of her lifetime.

A chase that will pit her against hardened Jihadis plotting the deadliest terror attack on India, that will test her mettle against history’s deep secrets, that will teach her that the price of love can mean bloodied hands …

The Hunt for Kohinoor hurtles from from icy Kashmir to snow-clad Hindukush, from the sinister corridors of a military hospital to the warrens of Peshawar, even as the clock counts down to the impending catastrophe.

I was pretty excited when I received an email from the team of Westland publishing asking me if I would be interested to review this book. I had loads of expectations about the book, partly because book 1 of this thriller series “The Taj Conspiracy” was every historical fiction reader’s dream come true. Though I have not read it, I had read a lot about the book that had been #1 on many a reading list and also a best seller for a long time. Here was a female version of Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon and of course India’s answer to Dan Brown along with Ashwin Sanghi!I was in awe of the authors capabilities as a writer even before I read any of her works and was looking forward to reading this one. I am still in awe of Ms. Someshwar’s capabilities as a writer – who wouldn’t love a well researched fast paced plot filled with loads of thrills?? It would be an action fan’s dream come true!

Wait a minute! Did I just say action?? Well, if you got this book expecting historical fiction this time around from this author, then that is where your expectations would fail, just like mine did 😦 I kept flipping the pages with great gusto (and to be honest, the book does promise on this front) but historical facts on the “kohinoor” were minimal…All you get is a load of the diamond’s violent history and how it changed hands through the ages.

Mehr Khosla is emotionally blackmailed to complete a mission handled by her father. She does manage to decipher the details of the mission, using very little knowledge of art and history! Frankly, I felt that this was far too simplified – She walks into an UNESCO un-deducted  and it seems to have no security cams nor guards around the site? I guess I would know only if I visit the place myself, so am going to go along with the plot for now! My point is that an avid reader of this type of genre can probably guess what’s going to happen next.

Maybe, this was intended by the author, as the book does seem to focus more on Mehr’s dad, Harry the “snow leopard” as he is fondly called in RAW circles, his mysterious disappearance from Mehr’s life and his skills and abilities as a spy. Separated for 17 years, only to be reunited again in strange circumstances, will father and daughter still have the chance to make up for lost time?

Honestly, the hero of this book was “Harry” and the other male protagonists like Mehr’s special friend R P Singh,  her friend and partner on the mission Raghav and the director of the Pakistan special desk at RAW, Jag Mishra. Keeping this is mind, the cover of the book is close to perfect!

While reading this book, I felt like I was in the middle of the movie “Vishwaroopam” ; surrounded by Talibs, Afghans, American soldiers, CIA and RAW agents on all sides. A bomb going off here, a woman being put in her place there, trekking mountainous terrains and everything else that an Indian reader who is familiar with the movie and readers that have the knowledge of the terrorist crisis that plagues the world, can think of.

The book does serve to educate anyone not aware of the history of the Taliban and why some of them do what they do. I loved reading about the personal nature of the “Pashtun” and their cultures. Only a few weeks ago, a fellow passenger in a flight that I was on mentioned to me that “Pashtuns” were an emotional lot….and after reading this book I kind of agree. A very poignant line in this regard from the book, a reference to an old age Afghan saying explains it all – “With Love you could persuade a Pathan to got o Hell, but by force, you cannot even take them to Heaven

The motto that Mehr bases her mission is derived from the tag line of a war where a contingent of 21 Sikhs guarded the fort of Saraghai against a 10,000 strong Pathan army. How did they do it? They just willed themselves to win! “Nischay Kar Apni Jeet Karo” translated as “Determine to win”. I think that this is what Ms. Someshwar as done with this book! A great read for action fans and those that enjoy spy and war stories….

I wanted to leave you with some choice lines from the book that offer food for thought, especially during election season! The paragraph clearly describes the way our country works and why it is so vulnerable to outsiders who want to covet it. Yet another indirect attempt by a writer urging us to vote properly. Was it intended?? I am not sure but it does make a lot of sense.

Abu wasn’t the enabler, it was these politicians who were the real handlers, But for the permanent need to line their pockets, his task would be tougher. But then the biggest enemy of this country was its leaders. And where did they come from? Not outer space – they sprang from within the people and this entire infidel country was destined to ruin.”…..There was more, but I will stop here and let you process!

Happy Reading!

About the author Manreet Sodhi Someshwar

Author of Earning the Laundry Stripes, The Long Walk Home and The Mehrunisa Trilogy. The First Book of the trilogy was the National best seller “The Taj Conspiracy” (AC Nielsen Scan) and was the Flipkart Editorial Pick of 2012.

Her latest novel ‘The Hunt For Kohinoor’, the 2ndbook of ‘The Mehrunisa Trilogy’ is creating a lot of buzz too. Recently, Mr. Anubhav Sinha, Director Ra-one and Producer Gulaab Gang went on record to say that Priyanka Chopra would be the best to play Mehrunisa [the central character in the book] & media from Canada to Pakistan, not to mention India, splashed the news. HT, DNA, Zoom, Bollywoodlife & many more [YouTube Link: http://bit.ly/bollywoodlife ] headlined the same. Even Priyanka Chopra posted the same on Facebook.

An award-winning writer (Commonwealth Broadcasting Association), and copywriter (Creative Abbey), her blog-The Long Walk Home-(http://bit.ly/ManreetBlog) is popular as well. Her skillful writing and story-telling has caught the attention of critics, with Khushwant Singh calling her a “literary star on the horizon.” For more info http://bit.ly/ManreetWebsite | http://bit.ly/ManreetFB

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