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‘Clear Line of Fire’ is Badrinath Nuggehalli’s first novel. He has dabbled for many years in advertising and marketing and has also started a marketing consultancy (Aqumena) of his own in Mumbai. This is his first novel. Does it work? Let’s check it out.

The blurb goes like this –

For the first time in history, the USA and Russia have perceived a threat from Indian military technology. They must put it down.

Satyan Sharma, a young entrepreneur, dreams of building a world class software powerhouse. His big chance comes when his company is selected to design the ‘brains’ of high – tech artillery to be produced through collaboration between India and Uzbekistan. Neither the USA nor Russia wants third world upstarts in the global arms industry. They deploy their secret services to manipulate corrupt Indian politicians at the highest level and sabotage the project. Satyan and his fiance Rubita, a feisty TV presenter, find themselves in a dangerous hunt – or – be – hunted game. They use wits and guile to shift the battle to the ground they are familiar with – the media and India’s corporate circles. The deadly struggle takes it toll while Satyan and those around him find both physical courage and moral strength put to extreme tests. What price will Satyan have to pay to turn the tables against the establishment in this high – stakes game?

Clear Line of Fire is a fast – paced thriller; the action moving across Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Washington and Moscow as well as the cold mountains of the Kumaon range.

The cover page and the general font of the book is quite presentable. Rupa Publishing have done a good job in making the prospective reader want to pick up the book from the shelves in stores.

The concept of this novel is quite interesting at the outset. The plot is captivating and gripping making the reader want to go on. The story moves at breakneck speed across locations. There is so much happening all the time that one can’t afford to miss even one bit. Badrinath seems to have done quite some research in the politics of the subcontinent, army jargons and the likes. This shows in the content throughout his book. The narrative is well structured with a clear line of thought. There aren’t too many subplots to confuse anyone.

There are so many sequences in the book which may not be entirely fiction. Corruption, Sabotage, Media games, financial scams, there’s all this and more. The book opens your eyes in many ways to the dark world of politics and defence and the games people play just to get some monetary benefits and enjoy their lives.

Though the book is quite amazing, there are still a few loose ends. Satyan is just supposed to be a dynamic entrepreneur of today. But the fact that he easily fights off and gets through all the muck in the political world as well as survives the trouble from USA and Russia is quite hard to fathom. Nothing much is explained towards the end on what exactly happens after the Russians and Americans knew that they are unsuccessful. There also isn’t a great deal of explanation on what happens to Satyan’s business partner cum friend Jake Mehta other than in the end.

Satyan is quite awesome as the dynamic entrepreneur of today who revives his father’s electronics company and reaches the verge of becoming the biggest private party in the Indian defense industry. Rubita is effective as the feisty TV presenter and Satyan’s better half. She helps him overcome all the difficulties. There is Jake Mehta whose Satyan’s close friend from the US. And then there are a litany of politicians, corporate honchos and bigwigs many of whom are corrupt and always part of the system which they don’t believe can change.

All in all, don’t miss this one if thrillers are your cup of tea.

Rating – 4/5