Disconcerting and Predictable: Prisoner Jailor Prime Minister - Book Review

Saturday, April 05, 2014 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

Language: English
Author: Tabrik C
Genre:  Fiction -   Political Thriller
Publisher: Hachette India (January 2014)
ISBN - 10: 9350096706
ISBN-13: 9789350096703
Binding: Paperback
Price: Rs. 350 (Buy from Flipkart for Rs.235)
Pages: 323

Synopsis:  A really disconcerting political thriller, that takes a lot of time to digest. An ending you see from a mile away and an all too predictable plot, make this novel an average run of the mill story.  The novel was a great opportunity to explore the political turmoil and how it may affect the dark secrets of a strong protagonist, however that has been lost!

Detailed Review: 

An interesting cover, an interesting name and you get hooked from the word go. You are drawn in by happenings in remote Rajasthan where some sort of clandestine activity is taking place of the nuclear variety (not the good kind). But that is all the thrill you'll get out of this one.

Switch to New Delhi and you are introduced to the newly elected Prime Minister of India, a musical freak with a strong  political background, Siddhartha Tagore, as he makes his way to the Rashtrapathi Bhavan for a simple oath taking ceremony. The year is 2017. And then it all goes downhill.

The narrative alternates between the first person (the Prime Minister) and the third person view. It shifts between the past and the present in a psychedelic disconcerting sort of way, which generates a few yawns as it gets over done in most places.

There are no strong characters apart from the protagonist. There is ample opportunity to etch the other characters deeper in to the psyche but that never happens.

You do expect political novels to have political intrigue oozing out of it. The strategies, power struggles, confrontations, conspiracies, moral dilemmas are all lacking and are sacrificed for building up the protagonist and his personal affairs. What a great opportunity it was to include this and show how the protagonist deals with them and also how his dark secrets unravel!

Siddhartha is described as a musical genius- a cross between Tansen and Mozart- however there is nothing besides Amadeus and symphony 40 that is mentioned. Are his skills limited to these two?

As the novel progresses, you wonder where the story is. The author introduces characters that do not endear to the reader, his chief adversary is said to be leader of the opposition - Rukmini Devi, but she ends up as a caricature of a leader.

And then you can see the ending coming from a mile away.


Book blurb: 

India has a new Prime Minister but is Siddhartha Tagore the product of his genius or of his dangerous mind?

India is on edge, as a subversive internal revolt against the Constitution, and the threat of Jehadi terror of an unthinkable level, are looming on the horizon.

Ringing Shiva’s damaru in and out of Parliament, a sudden turn of karma catapults outsider Siddhartha Tagore – a conflicted genius, music maestro and prodigal son, with forceful views on China and Pakistan- into national prominence as the head of the Opposition Alliance and finally as the newly elected Prime Minister of a disturbed nation.

But buried secrets are being resurrected and threaten to expose the past. Twisted within the double helix of menacing politics and hidden lust, Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister is a scorching account of Siddhartha Tagore’s fascinating journey from Harvard to 7 Race Course Road.
 Positives:
  1.  The title, it captures the mind of the protagonist, who is a prisoner of his own mind, a jailor in that he tries to keep his thoughts to himself and a Prime Minister.
  2. The language is simple and easily understood. 
  3. There is a fair amount of attention to detail.
 Negatives:
  1. A story that promises a lot, but just fizzles away and feels contrived in many places.
  2. An ending you see coming from a mile away.
  3. Expecting a political thriller, but ending up with a psychology/psychiatry novel.
Who may like this?

As you can see from the review, not me. However, if you love to learn psychology or psychiatry and the masks people wear. This one may be for you.

Buy or Don't buy:  If you like to learn more about the mind, go ahead. Otherwise, may not work for you. Flipkart is giving a 32% discount. You can also purchase from Amazon India (Rs. 235) or Amazon Global ($6.99 ).

Rating: 1.5/5.


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