Book Review: The Edge of the Machete
Part of South Asian Challenge 2012
Islamic mendicants centric novels seem to be on the rise with The Edge of the Machete by Abhisar Sharma being the third one, after Red Jihad and Zombiestan, within a month to be reviewed here. The second one of the Taliban Conundrum trilogy, the author takes us into the mind of an Islamic rationalist in a racy, twisted and multi-layered thriller.
The story takes us to the volatile Pakistan–Afghanistan border where all the mendicanary action is. A CIA undercover agent, Jason, is captured and brutally executed by the rising star of the Pakistani Taliban – Aamir Sherzai. The first CIA operative falls on Pakistani soil. The CIA is shocked and the ISI is clueless though Jason was on the mission to find proof of the suspected double crossing of ISI. Ed Gomez and Jason were brothers from different mothers and with one murdered, the others seeks revenge; total annihilation. Ed convinces his CIA chief Steve in Langley to give his nod for the most daring heist in the history of CIA operations against terror – Ed Gomez will transform into Sarfaraz Khan, open fire at the CIA headquarters, upload the video on Youtube.com with a personal message to the corrupt west and land in Pakistan from US via London. Meanwhile the world jihadist powers, keeping aside their internal feuds, are coming together at the beast in Khyber, Pakistan to join forces in unified attacks on the US, American interests across the world and the western society as a whole. Also somewhere in London is Shaun Marsh, who embraces his Kashmiri Muslim mother’s religion and calls himself – Shahid Khan; a white man with a skull cap. Shahid gets involved in radical Islamic rallies and ends up in Belmarsh – London’s high security prison. Religious and social discrimination continue against him and his angst against his citizen country seeps deeper, which eventually leads him to a Pakistani prison and then to the Beast. And there the white Muslim meets the CIA undercover Sarfaraz Khan and the maniac jihadi Aamir Sherzai. Will Shahid’s mind clear, will Ed extract revenge or will Ed transform into Sarfaraz after the mission ends, will Aamir prove to be an handful for the brave CIA operative, is ISI double crossing…did I say multi-layered?
Abhisar in his second novel combines his journalistic experience and his storyteller mind to weave a tale that is multi layered, complex and intriguing. He takes us into a world wherein reside confused minds, intentions gone wrong and passions turned maniacal – A world where everything is not about a religious war. There is political espionage, performance anxieties and the whole jehadi corp. that is no less than any corporate setup including the red colored pink slip.
A racy perspective widening dark tale of minds and mind-altering faiths. Not a completely unconventional climax but a tale that contains enough twists to qualify for a thrill-go-round.
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