Book: The Avenger: This Time It's War Author: Juggi Bhasin Publisher: Penguin Pages: 495 Price: Rs 299
The Avenger by Juggi Bhasin takes up a year later after the events in The Terrorist, where Special Forces officer Suvir Suri faced his terrorist doppelganger, Murad, to a decidedly deadly climax. Now Suri has retreated to Himachal Pradesh to put a considerable distance between the world and his comatose lover and himself.
Meanwhile, in Delhi, a plane belonging to billionaire industrialist Suresh Jindal is hijacked while his daughter is on board and subsequently bombed, at the behest of the sociopathic Sikandar Khan, a Pakistani terrorist. Jindal prevails on Suri to avenge his daughter's death as well as foil Khan's machinations. The plot is a well-oiled, fast-paced machine, with Bhasin deftly providing backgrounds to his characters and situations without hindering the story arc.
The Avenger's characters are real and relatable — whether it's a sarkari babu's mistress, an inebriated pilot or a terrorist using homosexuality as a weapon — without coming under any moralist fire. The portrayal of contemporary India as a country besieged by financial scams, separatist violence, TRP-hungry news channels and politicians with agendas, is fairly accurate, making the book an engaging read, despite some over-the-top accounts of global terrorism. There's even an eerily au courant licentious episode between a senior and a cub reporter in an elevator.