The author uses the backdrop of unrest in Kashmir to create a mystery thriller. The militants are planning to kidnap an Indian Scientist so they may be able to secure the release of some of their mates in jail. On the other hand, there is a group of highly placed people who want to make money by selling ancient artifacts of Kashmir.
Against this backdrop, the head priest of Aishmuqam shrine, Shamsuddin Bandey makes a trip to Delhi to visit an old friend Professor Noor. What he has to tell is explosive, there is some treasure dated from Dara Shukoh's time that is in the safekeeping of the priests of Aishmuqam. The secret passes from father to son and survived many generations. Now Shamsuddin is not sure he can preserve the integrity of the amanat much longer.
Mike Zutshi gets a frantic call from India when his 'rakhi' sister is abducted by the militants. He is also asked by the CBI to assist them in a mission to locate an international gang of artifact smuggler that are being aided and abetted by an Unknown Enemy in Srinagar.
The book has all the ingredients of a great mystery thriller. There are credible characters like Namrata, Mike Zutshi, Minnie, Ashok, Shamsuddin Bandey, Professor Noor. The backdrop of Srinagar, Kashmir is very attractive too. The author knows his subject well, and is able to write about it with authority. These are all the pluses of the book. It is very well written and well edited too.
So what is the problem, you may ask. The writer needs to bring some more excitement into his work, one needs to feel the emotions the characters are going through. We need some more passion in the characters.
The scenes need to develop properly so we can really get involved in them. The chapters are so short that just as you have begum to grasp what is going on, the action moves to another scene. Even though a lot of things are happening here, it does not really get you to the edge of the seat.
However, the author plans to write many more books. I am hoping he sticks to Srinagar background, I loved it. Maybe Mike Zutshi will return with another mystery to solve, and this time things will be more zingy.