Sacred GamesBook - 2006
An enormously satisfying, exciting and enriching book, Vikram Chandra's novel draws the reader deep into the lives of detective Sartaj Singh and Ganesh Gaitonde, the most wanted gangster in India.
Sartaj, the only Sikh inspector in the whole of Mumbai, is used to being identified by his turban, beard and the sharp cut of his trousers. But 'the silky Sikh' is now past forty, his marriage is over and his career prospects are on the slide. When Sartaj gets an anonymous tip off as to the secret hideout of the legendary boss of the G-company, he's determined that he'll be the one to collect the prize.
This is a sprawling, epic novel of friendships and betrayals, of terrible violence, of an astonishing modern city and its underworld. Drawing on the best of Victorian fiction, mystery novels, Bollywood movies and Vikram Chandra's years of first hand research on the streets of Mumbai, this novel reads like a potboiling page-turner but resonates with the intelligence and emotional depth of the best of literature.
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Katekar had watched his sons lick their glistening, sweet fingers, and he had watched his wife’s face as she had put away the boxes and the new sari for herself, and he had marvelled at how generosity can be the subtlest of all weapons, and especially between sisters.
Sartaj sank down into his chair. He didn’t much mind the condescension. He was himself getting used to the idea that he was washed up, that he had reached the crest of his career and that he wouldn’t advance very far past his father’s rank. He knew now that he wasn’t going to be the hero of any film, even the film of his own life.
It was the uniform that terrified them, that brought back all those tales of police brutality collected over many generations. Even the ones who wanted help spoke warily around policemen, and the ones who didn’t need help tried to be overly friendly in case they ever did. Policemen were monsters, set aside from everyone else. But Parulkar had once told Sartaj, ‘We are good men who must be bad to keep the worst men in control. Without us, there would be nothing left, there would only be a jungle.’
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