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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Book Review: The Sialkot Saga by Ashwin Sanghi

Title: The Sialkot Saga
Author: AshwinSanghi
Publisher: Westland 
Genre: Fiction
Date:  2016
Price: Rs.350
Pages: 558

The story begins with a captive narrative of the last train leaving Sialkot in Pakistan, to its other half India when the line of division on a peace of paper, etched on lands, stretches upon people's hearts, the Indo-Pak partition. Perhaps this is the only connection of the book to Sialkot which features only here and in the end. It is certainly the lack of a better title that the book gets its name from something of minor essence in a 558 page story, which despite efforts goes on a downhill slope from here.

It to moves on a track featuring the making of two business tycoons Aravind Bagadia and Arbaaz Sheikh. Both of them rookies, with Aravind being the clean one on paper but doing not so clean business of just buying and selling businesses, while Arbaaz makes it big in the Mumbai underworld. The story travels back and forth in time like the Chanakya's Chant strategy, just that the ancient era is limited to a very few pages describing a secret being passed not in lineage but by merit from one of the greatest monarchs and killers in history, emperor Ashoka.  The author tries to make an attempt to make the book really interesting with the tricks and tiffs of thug business development mostly by Aravind and the killing strategies by Arbaaz. As the story moves Arbaaz whose murdering strategies are so far the reason for one to be glued onto the book suddenly becomes a business man and the tricks of the two men double up in outbeating each other and the readers interests dips with each chapter.

The book is also laced with episodes of love, lust, betrayal, mistresses, Bollywood and popular characters and events that India went through from time to time only to try and increase the readers interest which one becomes resistant to with time. There is nothing unpredictable or exciting after the initial few pages and one just hopes it being an Ashwin Sanghi book there might be something, atleast that is what made me go on to read it till the end. Although unlike his last fiction story - The Krishna Key which was heavily inspired (being politically correct) by Dan Brown's plots, this one is original; however the flavor is bland.

The trickery of business afterall is boring after a point. The secret being talked about is like the chunk of garnishing, the last saving grace for the book. Upon reaching the end of the book after an exhausting journey a reader finds that the ancient preserved secret is also gross summation and too much extrapolation of ancient Ayurveda  with every small research that gets published everyday in Science but take decades to be useful to humans, if at all they are successful in clinical trials. There is in summation nothing to get excited about. 

Rating: 3/5. An average book compared to what Ashwin has delivered brilliantly with Chanakyas Chant. Read it only if you are a hard core Ashwin Sanghi fan who would read his every written word, else its a complete waste of time. 

About The Author: Ashwin Sanghi is an Indian writer and entrepreneur. He has also written several books such as Chanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key. He is also known by his pseudonym: Shawn Haigins.
A graduate of the Yale School of Management and St. Xavier’s College, he has since been awarded several acclaims for his work.He currently lives in Mumbai with his loving family.

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