A data theft at the NSA. An Indian scientist on the run. The spy apparatus of three nations after him and the coveted secrets he intends to take to the highest authorities. A girl who has become an unwitting pawn in this deadly game.
A mastermind who will stop at nothing. They are up against a man with a troubled past who stands between life and death, victory and defeat.
A conspiracy so devious it could forever change the nation. A race against impossible odds and time.
Who will get their hands on the secret first?
Neelabh Pratap Singh –
Right from the prologue, the author sets the tone of a pulse pounding thriller which runs at a breakneck speed.
The plot reminds me of Snowden incident but set in India.
Venkat works for NSA in the US and finds out that the NSA has been spying on Indian politicians and steals the data and flees to India.
Powerful people including the US military, a media head and Chinese and Pakistani intelligence, all go after Venkat to get hold of the data which can potentially be used to hold Indian politics at ransom.
Riya Kaul, Venkat’s ex college friend and gets embroiled in it. Enter the two protagonists – ex army Deva and the national security advisor, JSR.
The book is a treat for the fans of Fredrick Forsythe, David Baldacci and Dan Brown.
Predators and Prey is a sizzling thriller, one that you cannot putdown until you finish reading. It is the story of espionage, dealers and fixers, political intrigues, and a race for survival.
The novel comes to you from Abhinav Aggrawal, a columnist who has contributed to various publications. A computer engineer with a management degree from IIM, Abhinav is the curator of Indic Book Club. This is his first novel and he has without a doubt arrived on the literary scene with a bang.
If you are a fan of the thriller genre of novels, then you will love this one. The novel moves at a frenetic pace taking you through the desperate run for survival of the lead characters. One of them has a secret that can cause political turmoil and there are many people after him to get the secret. Another is a data analyst unwittingly dragged into the issue. The third is ‘Shaitan’, a courageous former military office and trusted confidant of the NSA.
The narration proceeds at a frenetic pace. You are switched between different narratives as you read with bated breath wondering what is going to happen next. The scorching pace of the novel, the engrossing plot, the engaging dialogues, and the strong characters makes this a novel you must not miss out on reading.
This fictional novel reminds you of real events that has happened in our country. The framing of Col. Purohit, the Tejpal case, the Lutyens elite’s control over the nation are all real events that you will be reminded of as you read.
The novel moves towards a tension-filled ending keeping you on the edge of your seat. There is a clear scope for a sequel, which I am eagerly awaiting from the author.
Overall, a racy thriller that you will enjoy reading. It is a book strongly recommended for all those who like the spy, thriller, action, or political genre of novels.
A nail- biting thriller that takes on the pace of the cars it describes. an keeps you on edge throughout. There is no lag in the story, even as it evolves its structure and etches out its characters.
Towards the end, you realise that there are few loose ends and yet, there is the anticipation of a planned sequel.
Ranjith Radhakrishnan –
You are pulled into the story from the first chapter itself and it’s a thrill a minute ride. The cat and mouse game will keep you up in the night, turning pages.
Spycraft, political intrigue, blackmail and media manipulation all find expression in this beautifully crafted novel. So much of the story will ring a bell with people who, even if only casually, follow the Indian news cycle. The novel is so relevant now and I think it will stay so for a good time to come.
Great to read an Indian writer who can match the best in the thriller genre. Kudos!
Ratul Chakraborty –
Gripping from beginning to the end
A racy high octane thriller in the best traditions of Forsyth and Alistair MacLean. Immensely readable page turner which brings India to the high table of international espionage and power games as a protagonist and not a pawn. Highly recommended.
Absolutely edge of seat thriller. Been a long time since I read a book that made it difficult for me to put it down but this one did it. No exaggeration at all to say that the pace has been kept up all through and I am still trying to figure ow the author managed that so beautifully. There is a very clear demarcation between the good guys and bad and I LOVE that because it keeps things clear in my head. The focus is right on the core plot all through, with no distractions and that’s another good thing for people like me who can’t read at one stretch. helps keep the story clear even if I pick it up after a day. Overall, a great read but I would recommend having a day set aside so you don’t get frustrated when you have to put it down and go work.
S Anuradha –
Abhinav Agarwal has dived into the world of digital surveillance, national security and political power broking and produced a pacy thriller.
Venkat, a scientist of Indian origin working for NSA in the US, finds out that his employer has been spying on India and steals the data to bring attention to this “dark den of digital dystopia”.
Once in Delhi he is chased by the US military, an India media tycoon, Chinese and Pakistani forces to get hold of the precious data which can be used to meddle in Indian politics and economy.
Riya Kaul, his former college friend and now data analyst tries to help him but they are no match for the forces stacked up against them. Two men stand between them and death –former army man “Shaitan” Deva and India’s national security advisor JSR.
Abhinav successfully holds the attention of the reader in the plot which is spread over two days. The actions scenes are graphic and well written. Needless to say the novel is perfect material for on-screen adaptation.
The parts on how digital surveillance takes place are truly scary. Welcome to the new trojan horse in all our lives – the mobile phone.
Deva is the quintessential hero – strong and at the same time vulnerable. The antagonists are also formidable. Neeraj’s character is a delight to read as he offers a glimpse into how the all-powerful Delhi Darbar operates. China MSS representative Ling and ISI’s Naeem leave a mark every time they appear.
The central female character Riya, widow of an Indian solider, highlights how common people suffer in a compromised system.
The novel ends with promise of more action from Deva. Looking forward Abhinav.
Arun Krishnan –
I have never read an Indian Thriller before. It has also been ages since I finished a book in one sitting. I did both last evening with Predators and Prey. A racy book that rushes the reader along from page 1. The intercuts are very reminiscent of watching a movie with a master editor at work splicing the scenes together. The story is SO relatable with the author deftly weaving real incidents into his narrative.
The characters are very relatable.
Abhishek Banerjee –
“Predators and prey” by Abhinav Agarwal is a fast paced, nail biting thriller that keeps you glued to the end. This novel is a veritable treat for many reasons. The main storyline emanates from a data theft at the NSA and provides a gripping, minute by minute account of the exciting events that follow within a short period of time. In the process, the alert reader learns a lot about what access to individual data means in our times. We also get to see the battle for supremacy at the highest and deepest levels of power. A well informed reader will recognize shades of real life political influencers among the characters. For example, how can a story about espionage and security not have a fictional analogue of Ajit Doval? They will also form interesting perspectives about some events that have shaped our current geopolitical landscape.
The pace of the writing is relentless; it is impossible to relax at any moment of the story. The detailed visual descriptions make you feel as if you are travelling with the protagonist(s). Just as you start to feel that they have seen the worst, a new development makes you sit up with a start.
All in all, every minute spent reading this book is worth it. For enhanced enjoyment, one should either read it on a flight (and therefore, without distractions from the internet) or late at night when everyone else is asleep.
The only downside is that at least for a couple of days after reading this book, the sensitive reader will be scared. Very scared.