At the outset, I would like to thank the author for sending me an autographed copy of the book to review. Thanks so much, Aarti. Kingdom Come by Aarti V Raman is the story of Krivi and Ziya set in Kashmir, London and Tibet from 2008 to 2013.
Krivi Karthik Iyer, born in India, an economics student, is an ex-army man, works with K & R as a team leader on their reconnaissance team. His parents live in Surrey, England and he has relatives in India. Losing Gemma and Joe, makes him ruthless, he is lone ranger extraordinaire, does not party and his eyes have no expressions.
Ziya Maarten, 29, has a Business Administration degree from London School of Economics. Having grown up in foster homes, the only thing permanent in her life are places. Noor Saiyed, a Kashmiri princess, is her best friend forever and the only family that she has. She lands up a job at Goonj Enterprises, belonging to Noor’s distant relatives, the Akhtar family. Dada Akhtar treats her as his granddaughter. She is strong and intelligent. She calls her conscience, ‘Truthful Ziya’.
Noor is in love with Major Sameth Qureshi, the boy next door since she was nine and he was in his teens. Noor is impulsive while Ziya is methodical and pragmatic.
The ‘Woodpecker’, a terrorist, specializes in public bombings, is supposed to be an efficient soulless killer and has a 3” thick file on him. His father, Tom Jones is his mentor, who had honed the skill, encouraged the spark, the madness- that had led to the creation of the file. He is a genius.no one knows who the real woodpecker is – he was a ghost, a shadow that killed. He is uncatchable because he leaves no witness and untouchable because he makes no mistake.
The book starts with a prologue in 2008, set in London, when Krivi, still caught up in his past, having lost his best friend and his wife in a car bomb blast and does not know how to live with it, gets an SMS saying that he has got a job- a route to escape. The prologue moves four years later, when Tom Jones, who created Woodpecker, sets a plan in motion – a plan for a change- a change being good.
The story starts with Krivi on a mission with his reconnaissance team to rescue the sixteen year old daughter of a businessman in Ladakh, and how his team manages to pull it off. As his team is partying, he receives a call from Harold Wozniacki, Assistant Director, Operations, MI5, tracks him down, asks him to come back, trace the Woodpecker via his sister- who is in Kashmir and nail the Woodpecker. Krivi calls up his employer, Jim, quits and joins Goonj, as the new manager because Ziya is presumed to be the sister in question. Ziya is his boss, he keeps communication to the minimum, observes her reports to Harold regularly about the activities going on. In order to get to know her more, he invites her to dinner and this becomes a regular activity and almost a month later, they have this ‘thing’ going on between them. Krivi cannot understand Ziya, she does not seem like a woman who would have contact with someone like Woodpecker.
Krivi and Ziya have a major misunderstanding and he is fired. They meet again in London, where Sameth and Noor are getting engaged and tragedy strikes and Ziya joins Krivi in finding the Woodpecker.
The story can be easily visualized, the characters are life like and real and both Krivi and Ziya come out as strong characters. Though, she has portrayed Krivi to be ruthless with no emotions, at the same time, she has mentioned his feelings, making him as human as you and me. The book made me laugh and it made me cry. Everytime, I felt that now things have settled down, there is a bolt and the story takes a turn and I could not keep the book down till that suspense was over. The emotions have been described very well, they are actually how a normal person would react to those particular circumstances. She seems to have done a lot of research, the description of diffusing the IED and various other sections is so detailed, a common person would not have any idea about such things.
The book becomes unputdownable once the Woodpecker hunt starts, everytime I would put down the book, I would pick it up again immediately.
I loved the book and I would like to put it in the Genre: A thriller garnished with romance.
Book Source: Review copy by the author
Publisher: Harlequin India