Monthly Archives: April 2012

Book Review of “The Ordeal” by Mangesh Jadhav

The Ordeal

 by Mangesh Jadhav

We know that USA is capable of quite a lot. Or so it projects in movies and books. But interfering with nature…who would’ve thought!

Mangesh Jadhav’s first offering, a sci-fi one at that, (The Ordeal) is quite entertaining and thrilling. I wasn’t sure how well my mind would receive it- but I was zapped at being hooked on to it from the very first page.

So what’s the story like- you ask? Well we have NASA and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) working on a satellite that can be used for military purposes. And then you have Russia with its undercover agents reporting the secret to its country, and them coming up with plans to counter it, and therein lies the fantastic plot. How it is brought forth and faced makes for a great read.

For a debut writer, Mangesh has used crisp, clean and very free flowing language that is not only easy but also grammatically fine. (Such relief there.)

The characters are very strong and impactful. Michael Jones, the lead protagonist is a CIA agent. His personality almost reflects through the pages. He is in charge of keeping the mission a secret, and what a fine job he does.
Then we have Suzanne Owen (Private Secretary of CIA’s Director) –a beautiful young lady and Michael’s love interest.
The other cast includes: Dr. Nina Portman, the greedy scientist who can’t but keep a secret for the country and sells her soul to the devil (read: Russians); Dr. Stephen Wilson of NOAA, the one to begin the experiment in the first place, and a bunch of Russians (Alexander Kofman, Andrei Yavlinsky, Vladimir Ivanov, Sergi Nemstor, etc.) who complete the picture in a splendid way.

Another good thing about the novel is the ease of reading it brings- well spaced lettering and smooth language- makes reading sort of uninterrupted and the 400 odd pages did not seem a task, really. The narrative is quite linear. Which is a good thing I guess.

The thriller was thoroughly enjoyed. Crisp plot, remarkable twists, pretty good detailing (sometimes a bit too much of it), it felt more real than just a story. Certain places the author could’ve/ should’ve left open-ended sentences/plots for the reader to interpret or assume or imagine. This would’ve engaged the reader more.

But overall, this is a MUST read- esp. coming from an Indian author- a great debut here!

Kudos!

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Book Launch of “Sun Tzu- The Art of War”

Thursday, 5th April, 2012
RSI, Pune

But life takes you places – and mine saw me attend an informal book unveiling and discussion event at the RSI, amidst renown and senior (in rank and age) Armed Forces Officials on a pleasant Thursday evening.

Col. Vinay B. Dalvi‘s debut non-fiction “Sun-Tzu: The Art of War” is dedicated to the Indian Army. For those who don’t know, Sun Tzu wrote the Art of War in China 2500 years ago!
It is the earliest known treatise on the subject of war which has never been surpassed in comprehensiveness and depth of understanding.

The evening saw Col. Vinay B. Dalvi give his audience an outline of the 13 chapters and as many as 389 thoughts penned in the book.
“But the one thought I’d like to share with you all is this: If you know your enemy, you’ve won 50% of the battle; If you know yourself you’ve won 50% of the battle. So if you know your enemy and yourself, you’ve won 100% of the battle,” he pointed out.

He had the audience in splits when he commented, “Oh and yes, this doesn’t work on your better half!”

We then saw Vice Admiral SCS Bangara and Lt. Gen. Ashok Joshi unveil the book, along with the author and Mr. Rajan Arya (CEO- Pentagon Press).

The noted dignitary spoke about the book and its content to quite an extent, and it indeed was enlightening. Though I don’t have an army background, I have a lot of friends who do. And I could relate to a lot of their stories about life at the NDA. The discussion saw the veterans speak about Leadership amongst Officers and how the NDA is a platform to groom and polish and recognize them. Maj Gen V.K. Madhok’s absence was extremely noticeable (due to unavoidable personal reasons he couldn’t make it to the launch), but his support was heartily appreciated by the author in his address.

 

(L-R: Vice Admiral SCS Bangara, Lt. Gen. Ashok Joshi, author Col. Vinay B. Dalvi, Mr. Rajan Arya- CEO Pentagon Press)

 

One noteworthy thing about the evening was the presence of Mr. Rajan Arya at the event. Its not often that publishers accompany the author for a book launch, but having read about Mr. Arya I was pleasantly taken aback at his modesty and enthusiasm of promoting new authors, and his willingness to publish books that are essentially non-fiction, and more so of political/relevant issues of concern today.

Maj Gen (Dr) G.D. Bakshi, SM, VSM (Retd) has written the foreword while Maj Gen Raj Mehta, AVSM, VSM, (Retd) has written the afterword for the book. And both of them have provided quite a clear and comprehensive idea about The Art of War, summarizing with its influence and applications.

I personally feel this book is beyond boundaries of any particular subject. It should be read by all. After all, Leaders are not just born. Sometimes they need to be groomed and polished and guided.

This (book) does go up in my “to read” list right away!

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