“Combining the pace of Forbes, the action of Ludlum and the imagination of Forsyth…Blacker’s intoxicating thriller is a technical tour de force”. That’s one of the reviews at the back of this amazingly gripping novel written by David Blacker, an ex – Srilankan Army guy who has seen many combat operations with the Liberation Tamil Tigers Eelam during his stint with the army. I picked up this book randomly or you can say after seeing the cover which has different shades of green, brown and black and the fact that the name of the book had a line below it saying “Sri Lanka’s Tigers take their war across the world…”. Till date I have always heard of non – fiction novels based on 9/11, 26/11 and other terror attacks (I am sure fiction must be there too…but never heard of it). So on seeing this, I felt really excited hoping the book would be a great read. And the book doesn’t disappoint one bit. Personally speaking its one of the most amazing novels I have ever read.
Blacker’s achievement lies in his ability to make what is essentially a Sri Lankan conflict into a thriller with global appeal. There is simply no comparable work of fiction by a Sri Lankan author. Writ against the backdrop of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka and terrorism, the book weaves a plot that ricochets from Sri Lankan battlefields to the autobahns of Germany, from clandestine meetings of terrorists in British pubs to suicide bombers on the rampage in Canada. The violence reachers a crescendo with an international hijacking and a horrific hostage crisis.
The way Blacker intertwines reality (yes there is reality to an extent) with fiction always keeps the reader interested. He doesn’t waste time talking about how the LTTE came about. But directly explains stuff like what really happened in those parts of Sri Lanka where they once ruled like in terms of their exploiting and recruiting people including women and children, mining the area, bringing about the idea of suicide bombing in modern day terrorism etc. The locales of the countryside especially the Jaffna Peninsula among others are splendidly described. He moves the story effortlessly between different places in Canada, Europe, America and Sri Lanka.
But the most important parts of the book are the action sequences be it the the hostage drama, the bomb attacks or even high speed chases. Blacker’s work is hugely believable due to the fact that he uses familiar names, incidents and locations. The amazing Lewis Hamilton like pace of this book makes one read on and on (basically once you get your hands on it, you surely cant leave it for anything and would get up once its completely over!). The talk about LTTE, the different special anti – terrorist units of different countries along with the names of different places in Sri Lanka keeps the thrill going along. This novel though is not for the faint – hearted as it contains a lot of graphic details of death and destruction which is a day – to – day thing for army units as well as terrorists.
Quite a lot of people may criticize the book or the author for the violence or probably the romanticization of the conflict or even painting a racist picture of the Sinhalese or the Tamils. But all in all “A Cause Untrue” makes for an undeniably great read.
And yeah this is one book which should be made into a movie…It should be a treat to watch 🙂
Rating – 4.5/5