Sultan of Delhi is a book that would be perfectly in place among the shelves of a Bollywood director. Filled with action, forbidden love and family honour, it is the quintessential Indian story about how a lone man, using his intelligence alone, succeedes in life only to have an old connection rear its ugly head.Arnab Ray is the author of The Mine and a couple of other books, all of which I’ve heard great things about but haven’t read yet. So when I was offered a chance to be part of the blog tour for his newest novel, I jumped at the chance.
The author takes us through the life of Arjun Batia through various timelines. Originally starting with the current timeline and then jumping back into his past in Lahore when India and Pakistan were divided into two countries. He manages to keep our interest despite jumping into long thought processes and philosophises without taking away from the story. The writing is crisp and easy to read, perfect for the kind of audience that typically likes these sorts of commercial thrillers. While he did end up using a lot of Hinglish (Hindi written in English) I don’t think you’d mind this if you are a Hindi speaking person. As for me I just skipped these lines because they weren’t appealing to me in any way.
The story itself was a little mixed up in my opinion. While the main character was great to read about for the most part, once we reached the second half it felt as though the storyline fell flat with an even flatter ending. Almost as though the author was unsure about what to do with the other characters then. The greatness of Arjun’s brains are still showcased but in a rather defeatist way. His sons aren’t even remotely appealing in comparison and this does take away from the story. But the first half of the story was so entertaining that I went trough it in one sitting.
Arjun as a character is very well done. He starts off as a rich kid, a sahib’s son, and adapts to the terrible circumstances the indipendence brings about. His family is massacred and while he is left with his father he may as well have lost him too. He takes to manual labour and is so likeable that he finds his way in the world, albeit a little slowly, till he reached his goal.
As a character it is really easy to sympathise and root for his causes because it just how expertly the author appeals to our hero worship side. He’s an intelligent boy who is taught that is brain is better than brawny and uses that advice to the best of his abilities to become the most influential puppet master in Delhi. And his affections for his wife and children, despite him having an affair, make him seem like a character worth rooting for.
There are other characters but their POVs are very briefly visited and none of them are as interesting as the main character. The author has done a brilliant job in presenting us with someone we feel good suppprting. This is sort of like a Salman Khan movie, you watch a character come from something, go to nothing, and then become something ALL with his own hard work and righteousness. In fact if you are a fan of Mr.Bhai you might really enjoy this book as well.
Sultan of Delhi chronicles the story of Arjun Bhatia – son of a penniless refugee from Lahore who has worked his way up from being an arms smuggler in the badlands of Uttar Pradesh to the most influential power-broker in Delhi.
But when the shadows of the past – of a friend he has lost forever and a woman he can never be with – finally catches up with him, Arjun finds himself fighting the biggest battle of his life. For at stake is not just his iron hold over the government, but something even greater – his family … and his soul.
Spanning five decades and two generations, Sultan of Delhi: Ascension is an explosive saga of ambition, greed, love and passion.
Available for purchase on Amazon India and Flipkart.
*i received a copy as part of the blog tour. Opinions expressed are completely my own.