As an aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, streamed live with little discrimination on our TV channels, reactions of anguish and anger were naturally triggered among citizens of the country. In the mayhem that ensued, the alarm and panic unleashed so visibly on that dark night scarred the collective psyche of the nation since. The one lesson for India from the incident is the need to delve deep into the causes and search for the right remedies to counter the reprehensible antics of a country that harbours and nurtures in its instruments of state, such potent evil and ill will towards India. Any effort that helps contribute towards this need is to be welcomed. Mayank Singh’s novel Wolf's Lair is a very welcome thriller for this very reason. And more.
It seems almost certain Mayank Singh’s instincts as a storyteller were aroused that fateful night and a budding talent was spurred into action; as witnessed in his first and much earlier book, 26/11 The Untold Story. To my mind, Wolf’s Lair is a natural consequence to this first book and builds on a much larger canvas. The underpinnings of Wolf’s Lair are the shenanigans of terror unleashed without respite by India’s notorious neighbor; much like a nagging street dog barking at the heels of a passing elephant. What makes Wolf’s Lair an interesting read is the attention to detail that the author uses while preventing the narrative from the pitfalls of tediousness, using it instead to his advantage. A good work of fiction must essentially leave the reader with a sense of gain. The gain could assume the form of a sense of personal fulfillment stemming from the narrative insights into aspects of human nature, or it could be an intellectual insight into an unrecognisable facet of the world we live in, or it could impart a sense of joy that lingers. Wolf’s Lair succeeds on all three counts. However, make no mistake, it is essentially a thriller with each page bubbling with a kind of anticipation for further twists and turns. To be honest, it rarely ever disappoints.
The book provides intimate detail, partly imagined and partly based on intricate and deep research into the workings of the machinery that engenders such acts of terror. Sometimes you gain the impression that the narrator is witnessing the events first hand; such is the attention to detail. The narrative draws upon and casts light on recent history and the characters are crafted with a touch that lends them their reality. The diabolical evil that lurks in the mind of the chief antagonist, Rehan Khan is portrayed with a flair that reveals how vivid and in-control the imagination of the author is. The characters are written to portray all this with natural ease, together with all the flaws and traits that humans possess.
Wolf's Lair is a vivid tale of what lurks in the cold and sinister world of regional terror and a very welcome addition to the world of thrillers that not only entertains you but also makes you think.
The author is former vice chancellor, Delhi University. Disclosure: he was a guest of honour at the launch event of Wolf's Lair.
Updated Date: Jan 29, 2017 13:14:30 IST