Breach by Amrita Chowdhury

11:10:00 AM

Title:Breach
Author:Amrita Chowdhury
Pages:352
Year:2014
Source:review copy via Think Why Not
Publisher:Hachette India
Price:350 INR
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    The Market for Indian writing in English is booming.The last couple of years has seen an unprecedented surge in the number of books releasing in the (desi) pulp-fiction genre.Be it military/banking/historical/horror/science fiction thrillers,you name it,an Indian version is readily available for you,at a mouse click.(thanks to that awesomely awesome device called Kindle!).Almost all the internationally best selling thriller sub-genres have been tried out by the Indian writers,with varying degrees of success.Having said that,I would also like to remind you all that 'medical thrillers' is one sub-genre which hasn't got the fancy of these desi writers,till date.'Breach' is one work which bravely steps into this hitherto unchartered territory and comes out with flying colours.

Acel,the pharma-giant is all set to grab a global patent for it's newly discovered path breaking anti-cancer drug,'Colare'.In an unexpected turn of events,Acel's offshore centre in Mumbai is attacked by hackers and a lot of sensitive,confidential data are stolen.The dynamic,young country(India) head of the Company,Dr Udai is blamed for this serious security lapse and he finds his life and career turned upside down all of a sudden.Now,the onus is on him to prove his innocence.It's not only his reputation and career at stake,but also the future of a potentially life saving drug which can benefit millions of cancer patients across the globe.'Breach' is an inter continental tale which is all about trust,deceit,blatant greed and medical ethics.

Though the cover page(quite decently designed) screams that it is a Cyber thriller,for me 'the Breach' worked more as an emotional rollercoaster ride set in the back drop of the pharmaceutical industry than as a full fledged cyber/techie story.A lot of technical stuff is explained in the book in a very simple,easy to understand way.Kudos to the writer for making them (the hacking part/patent related portions) as simple as possible.Through the book,Amrita tries to highlight the flaws in the patent laws and the deteriorating work ethics in this highly cut-throat,competitive world.The irony of the mad rush for profits among the drug companies at a time when the lives of millions of poor and unpreviliged are at stake has been etched out well by Mrs Choudhury in this book.For that matter,I think 'Breach' is a very relevant work.It throws light in to the rot in the pharmaceutical sector and also suceeds in reminding us that all is not lost,yet!

There are quite a number of characters in this novel.I can confidently say that the writer has derived them from her real life experiences.From high end executives,corporate honchos to small time movie pirates and school students who don't hesitate to make a few quick bucks by indulging in online piracy and unethical hacking,this tale finds a place for people from the different strata of the society.Infact,Amrita's characters are tangible and believable.

The book is undoubtedly an easy-to-read page turner.The Chapters are short(with each running to not more than a couple of pages)and crisply edited.The writing is racy and suits the overall mood of the book.The average reader might find the first couple of chapters to be a bit confusing as atleast a dozen characters get introduced here in rather quick succession.Even then, it cannot be overlooked that the writer succesfully manage to set the tone of the novel right from it's first couple of pages itself.There is also a short romantic track thrown into the narrative which,I personally believe could have been done away with.On the downside,I feel the book deserves a little bit of editing in it's middle portions.May be they can rectify it in the coming editions!

Verdict-Go and grab a copy of this unputdownable thriller at the earliest.It's actually worth every penny you spend on it.Rating-4/5

-nikhimenon

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