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The Edge Of The Machete – A Review

Book Review

Political thrillers often run the risk of losing the plot midway and blowing up the climax, after building up a fairly good plot. Writing on a topic as grave as the Taliban phenomenon and Global Jihad Inc is not a cakewalk; research goes on collecting facts and one needs a sound imagination to translate the facts into fiction. Abhisar Sharma walks the tightrope and narrates a gripping tale of conflict, terror, violence, ruthless bloodshed, deceit and politics.

The Edge of The Machete is the second offering in the Taliban Conundrum trilogy by Abhisar Sharma and makes a mark from the first page itself. From the inhuman murder of a CIA operative in Pakistan to the torture chambers in the jails of Kazakhstan, the violence may creep a reader who has a frail heart. Involving characters who reside in the headlines of newspapers, the plot slowly builds up a tension, leaving the reader wanting for a breathtaking experience.

The story begins when a CIA operative in Pakistan is betrayed by one of his own, and ends up in the hands of an emerging Taliban warlord, whose dictionary does not feature the word emotions. The only emotion Ameer Sharzai feels is the feeling of sadistic pleasure when he sees his victims being tortured to death. As the CIA is coming to terms with the death of the agent and planning a counter-offensive, Eduardo Gomez makes an entry into the narrative with a plan, which seems too good to bear fruit.

The flow of the story has breaks in between, to give an insight into the past of the main characters. Shahid Khan, Rahul Sharma, Ameer – everyone gets their due coverage. The novel throws light on the rampant racism in England and how Muslims lead a harrowing life, as an aftermath of 9/11 and 7/11 terror attacks. Shaun Marsh is transformed into Shahid Khan at the British version of Guantanamo Bay prison; the details too gory to digest at one go. These digressions in the plot wean away the interest building up for the amazing story that the writer wanted to tell.

The climax keeps the door open for the third instalment of the Taliban series while drawing curtains on this edition of the story. The way all pieces of the jigsaw fall in place as the final pages approach, and the manner in which coincidences and luck favour our protagonists may invite a few raised eyebrows. But that’s the way thrillers are.

While turning the pages sometimes i wondered, is it so easy to infiltrate the world of Taliban and win their confidence? People running a global Jihadi organisation would do better than blindly falling in love with a “new icon” of Islamic Hardliners. But then, these men are creations of the American intelligence and later turned rogue.

Abhisar Sharma’s novel has the style of Sam Bourne and Robert Ludlam. Breathtaking plots, fast-paced page-turners and brilliant visualisations with words – I will surely wait for the third novel of the trilogy.

My Rating – 3/5 stars 🙂

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