Book Name: Chess without a Queen
Author Name: Virag Dhulia
No of Pages: 306
Publisher: Notion Press (10/11/2017)
Blurb: I must say that the blurb portion of the book is clean, and compact. It is giving a clear idea of what the book may consist of, while concealing the thrill factor accordingly to arouse the curiosity of the reader. So, in my opinion, the blurb is aptly written.
Cover: The front cover of the book is designed actually very appropriately, thus it is reflecting the content of the story well, and the cover is pretty much eye catching indeed; impressive work done.
Title: Title of the book is no doubt unique, and it is well enough capable of making the reader stop by in front of the book and pick it up. The first thing that came into my mind after reading the title, was, how is this possible? Playing chess & that too without a Queen? Instantly I decided that I must go through what is awaiting me in the book, and I opted for that. The title tells us that, lots of games & strategies are played (like chess), except that there is no visible queen, especially if the chase for power be equated to Queen. Title is justifying the substance of the book clearly; hence I consider the title appropriate.
Language & narration: Language of the book is lucid and coated with classy words as well. I can say that I am highly impressed by seeing the choice of words being selected by the author to ornament the sentence! After finishing the 1st chapter itself, I sensed that I am going to witness some level of maturity in forming sentences till the end, and the author didn’t turn my expectation down indeed. Especially a noticeable thing is that, the non English words (such as- Anna) used in conversation, are being given the meaning with at the very end of the book in ‘Glossary’ section. Now while coming to the narrating style, I will first use the word “flawless”! Narrative skill of the author has reached another level of thrill, that even beyond my imagination. Super tempting & thrilling way the events have been presented and organized so thoughtfully, that will keep the reader at the edge of their seat for sure. This thrilling grip of the story picked up gear since the very beginning and it continued to maintain the same intact till the very end, thus made the book truly “unputdownable” indeed!
Plot: In the aspect of crafting the plot, I will give the author 200% marks. Yes, I have read quite a number of different types of thriller (mostly dark thriller) previously, and a lot actually, so I am generally used to go through how thoughtfully the plot of a thriller novel should be crafted, but after reading this book, I realized that I still need to learn a lot, seriously. A political thriller could not have been more engaging than this one! The author has researched a lot (and it is evident) before he decided to come up with a political base plot with intertwining countless number of twists & turns presenting as sub plots. The way author revealed one twist and instantly connected the dots with even another deeper turn, is surely what I feel needs to keep the reader hook with the book (it is the main reason that I finished reading the 306 pages lengthy book in less than 24 hours!)
Setting: The setting of the story is mainly in the backdrop of Uttar Pradesh, a North Indian state, and glimpse of mentioning London will be there too in the book. Lucknow and places around it are pointed specifically inside the story where needed (Daliganj, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Baroliya, Hazratganj, Colonelganj, Barabanki, Faizabad), *Kanpur,*Maharashtra, *Delhi (* places are just name mentioned there).
Characterization: All the characters (be it the protagonist of any supportive character) in the book have been portrayed very well connectively and each character has their own significance according to the story need. Crystal characterization is I consider as one of the strengths of this book and the characters are aptly justified to their respective roles till the end. Let’s have a look at the name of the characters mentioned in the book- Rishabh Tanwar, Maria, Manish Saxena, Prakash Tanwar, Mukesh Tanwar, Madhurima Sen, Sourav Chanda, Mr. Das, Swati, Utkarsh, Gururaj Chauhan, Mr. Robert Gomes, Abhishek Mhandre, Mahesh Mhandre, Shankar, Bhola, Mohan Lal, Sohan Lal, Saquib, Rashid, Arihant Verma, Akash Sehgal, Rajesh, Suresh, Arvind Mishra, John, Ramesh, Samuel, Joseph, Binod aka Chotu, Vrajesh Chaturvedi, Shantanu Banerjee, Abhinav Shukla, Satyakam Raghuvanshi, Sheela, Dr. Imran Majid, Meena aka Rozy, Lankesh, Ashutosh Pandey, Dubey, Rishi Mishra, Sanket, Parekh, Sailesh Bansal, Ravi Rajvanshi, Pradhan, Bhairav Singh, Katyayani.
Theme: Fictional thriller, Political thriller, mystery, suspense thriller.
Story in a nutshell: The story has been taken place keeping a political election in front at Uttar Pradesh. The main key point of the story is the political rivalry (prestigious too) between two parties named Lok Sewa Party & Pradesh Jan Dal. While Gururaj Chauhan wanted to maintain his ruling over CM seat in the upcoming election, since the past 3 elections consecutively, keeping Manish Saxena in front; on the other hand, Prakash Tanwar wanted his son Rishabh Tanwar to regain the position and occupy chair of CM to retain everything that once belonged to them only. I this backdrop, the story will pick rhythm and, to gain public votes while maintaining this rivalry, a series of events will be happen accordingly, that too in such a way, that even bigger face of political parties won’t be able to figure out what’s going on and who was behind all those incidents actually.
Politics is in the blood of Rishabh, so he knew that just after completing his MBA degree in London, he will have to return to India, to the place he actually belongs to and to take the responsibility of the party ruled, composed and organized by his father Prakash Tanwar, because Rishavh will have to be the face of his party in the election for the CM chair. But things were not so easy as it may sound, because it is all about power and it is the game of politics, that can make things really ‘nasty’ sometimes. One can go to any extent to win over the position aiming for, and here is not any exception. Controversy begins when Rishabh got kidnapped just after landing in India, but wait…don’t assume anything now, because I bet no one will have even the minimum guess where the root of this game is actually… Nope, you may try, but you won’t be able to! Manish Saxena planned something deep that will surely (well..apparently) help to play the cards according to them. Everything was going smoothly until Rishabh’s kidnapping, and to their surprise, after a lot of controversies and drama, the opponent party regained the chair and Rishabh returned too and became the Youngest CM at the age of 29. But how these things are going so easy, right? Winning the position of CM takes really very deep planning and plotting and even something bigger than that. So it’s natural to pay for that price too! Yes, Rishabh was being accused of a heinous crime that he himself was not even a bit aware of. Following that something happened that will take the currently party in power in the verge of existence and the fate of people of the state as well. Rishabh realized that he was not only being trapped and framed out of the context, but the hidden scenario and the mastermind played a really bigger game this time that may cost Rishabh and his entire party everything…literally.
What happened after that? Who was behind the kidnapping of Rishabh & how he managed to return just in time? What happened in between that removed the party in power and made people bring another party in frame? In the journey of occupying the seat of CM, what kind of game played by Rishabh himself and whom he included (used) in his plan? Who is the actual mastermind behind all these and how the person managed to play everything safely? Will Rishabh be able to trace the route of the false accusation and will he ever be able to free himself from the trap? What is awaiting the party in power and what the state will have to face in between this game of power and rivalry? To get all these answers and to find out what does it mean…to play chess without a queen, just grab your hold into the book and go through it.
My Verdict: Author has penned down the story so captivatingly that I won’t hesitate to caption this book as a “masterpiece”. What kind of game can be played in politics to reach the supreme power is the book all about. The incidents and plots are inspired from real life, and of course as it is a fiction, so some creative changes have been made in them for the sake of portraying a story. The level of planning, plotting, conspiracy, blame game, rivalry, controversies have been presented here, will left even the most experienced politician speechless. How a person can con everyone and in what level, is something to be astonished here. To maintain the power or just to seek revenge, how much nasty things can be and even the people are, is hereby shown clearly. The brain work of politicians and masterminds, and the strategically taken steps, the tight gripping thrill, the way of revealing the twists and intertwining them with unexpected turns, the power of position and influence, the power of money, the need for power (read the “Queen” here), and most importantly how all of the incidents are connected to the end tactfully have been shown here clearly. When corruption is the main hole, then politicians, bureaucracy, judiciary, executives, corporate media; how can they be able to separate from each other? The main role that media and journalists play, actually the most surprising element in the story. Character like “Sheela” is a shame in the name of a ‘Mother’. I respect ‘Rashid Chachu’ from the core of my heart, and especially, his comforting words to Rishabh to make him free from his guilt were something very deep and touchy.
The fast pace captivating narration, visualizing characterization, engaging plot, thought provoking writing style, mature language and super twisting thrills are all the positive points in the book and I would surely be looking forward to the future works of the author.
Drawbacks: In the sense of Drawback, I must say that I have not found any major thing as such; it’s just 2 tiny printing errors that I know can easily be taken care of. I am enlisting both of them here- Location 2335 (65%) “Yes”, he said (not “yes, he said”), Location 2261 (63%) do you think…..simple? (‘?’ will be used instead of ‘.’)
Recommendation: I would definitely love to recommend this book (for sure) to every thriller lovers, readers in fond of a classy suspense read, and people who are keen enthusiasts of high profile political drama, this book is a sure shot for all of them. I am definitely gonna read this book again in my leisure time and whoever will go through this book, won’t regret their time and money behind this; I guarantee it. Thank you.
Rating (Overall): 5/5 Stars.
To get a copy of this book, click here- Amazon Link Of The Book