Friday, November 30, 2012

The Edge of the Machete - Book Review

This is part of the Blog Adda Book Reviews Programme.

Title - The Edge of the Machete (paperback)
Author - Abhisar Sharma
Publisher - Westland
Genre - Journalistic Fiction / Terrorism Thriller
Number of Pages - 333
Font - 9/12 pts Linden Hill - 333 pages
Cover Image - A masked terrorist
Price - INR 250

Author Profile - Abhisar Sharma is a renowned journalist in India with about twenty years of experience in covering topics of national and international interest. This is his second book in the trilogy of Afghan novels. His first book being 'The Eye of the Leopard'.

There are three primary characters:
Ed alias Sarfaraz - a CIA agent.
Shaun Marsh alias Shahid - a white British Muslim.
Rahul Sharma - a leading Indian journalist.

The book traces the adventures of a CIA specialist Ed who is heading to Afghanistan to avenge the execution of his closest buddy Jason. (People note the reference to the most famous agent in international fiction Jason Bourne). Ed stages a killing of CIA agents and makes an escape assuming the identity of Sarfaraz and hosts a clip of the killing with his face visible to become the darling of the jihadi world. This trick works and he infiltrates the core group in the Khyber.

Shaun a son of a British cab-driver and a Kashmiri woman is in a state of emotional conflict coming to terms with his mixed identity. He decides to embrace Islam and ends up in Belmarsh prison after a scuffle. Here is brutally raped by white supremacists; but he avenges this insult by biting a portion of the penis of the leader of the white supremacists. This makes him a hero among the Muslims in prison and he decides to reach Pakistan to trace his roots and find the purpose of his life. Inevitably he ends up in Afghanistan after a miraculous escape from police captivity in Pakistan. The escape scene is done well.

Rahul is a high-flying journalist who lands up in Kabul to interview a terrorist leader. He is kidnapped and held captive for ransom by a fringe group; then in turn he is kidnapped by a larger group.

Amanda / Meera - Amanda was in love with Shaun but they split because Shaun would not give up on his suicidal Islamic quest; Amanda comes to India heart-broken meets Rahul in a spiritual camp in Haridwar. they fall in love and get married. Amanda changes her name to Meera and she continues to work for Amnesty International.

The Beast:
This is a massive complex of caves and caverns in the Khyber where all factions of terror outfits from the Laskar-e-toiba, the hizbul mujahideen and a bunch of other names meet and plan a massive attack. The most daring of all 'a dirty bomb' attack - a nuclear weapon attack on the USA.

The novel traces the intertwined tale of Shahid, Sarfaraz, Rahul and Amanda. Do they manage to fulfill their promises? Does Ed / Sarfaraz avenge Jason's execution? Is Shahid forced to execute Rahul? What happens to Amanda?

Read the novel to find answers to all your questions!

My judgement - The story is a cross between - Frederick Forsyth's - The Afghan and Mani Ratnam's fim Roja!The font-size was a bit too small for my liking! The book could have been racier; a poorly written sex scene involving Jason and a Pakistani lady, some inadvertently comical torture scenes and uneven-pacing are the negatives in the book.

Positives - In-depth research of Pak-Afghan-ISI-terror nexus, awesome description of 'The Beast'; emotional turmoil of characters well brought out!

My rating - 3 stars out of 5!

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at . Participate now to get free books!


Karen Xavier said...

Nice review... so do they just send books your way, interesting.

mahesh said...

Yes, you need to sign up for the programme. Visit for more info!

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