Wednesday, December 17, 2014

#BookReview : The Winner's Curse by Dee Walker

On the jacket: A political thriller about national ID numbers, power and greed. Orphan Harsh makes it to the billionaire club with a burning vision, sheer intellect and the blessings of his political Godfather. The favours must now be paid back through a huge Guru Dakshina. To honour his Master’s wish, Harsh, with the help of his fellow IITians, sets out to create a never-seen-before governance technology around the national ID numbers, that will change the face of democratic India.  Everything is at stake: money, reputations, egos and morals. Even lives.  Will they succumb to insatiable greed in the murky games of politics, backstabbing and subterfuge or will they be redeemed by the ‘Ten Commandments’ that once forged their ideals at college?  If you thought that supreme technology and unalloyed power can bring lasting change or that e-governance and transparency can address the ills of our system, The Winner’s Curse will force you to think again. For what’s at stake is: YOU.  The Winner’s Curse: the turbulent voyage of talent and intellect in the morass of turpitude.

Review: The book begins with the ten IIT Commandments as written by R Gopalakrishnan, Director, Tata Sons and the story begins in March 2012, in Delhi.

'The Winner's Curse' is a political thriller about India, technology and greed. America had India under surveillance and without the Home Minister Ambasamudram Rajoo's knowledge, the CIA and the NSA had collected more than 6 billion documents on Indians within just a year. All this was done on the guise of strategic coorperation. 

Billionaire Harsh Mittal is called by his patron who is referred to as The Master. Together, they sit and hatch a plan to combat this situation. What happens next. The book includes in itself The Ten Commandments of IIT; Harsh being an alumni of the institute. We get to see a transparent view of how IIT graduates look at life & deal with it, and how their actions in turn affect India. 

A very crisp plot, a well-thatched plan and well-defined characters, The Winner's Curse makes for a fine read. A very tight plot with many sub-plots, what I loved is how the sub-plots are dealt with. Despite there being numerous flashbacks, the transitions from past to present to past is effortless and smooth. 

Editing leaves a lot to desire and to be honest, this was the only hitch in the reading experience. The book starts at a slow pace and but evolves steadily. The author knows what he is writing and is in control of the plot. At no point did the plot go off track.

Rating: ****/5

[This was an author request review. However, the views expressed are solely mine.]

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