Today I’m passing back the baton to Mandie who has a review of the latest book in the Sam Wyndham series by Abir Mukherjee, The Shadows Of Men. Mandie loves this series and so commandeered the proof copy we were gifted by publisher Vintage as soon as it arrived. Here’s what the book is about:
About the Book
Calcutta, 1923. When a Hindu theologian is found murdered in his home, the city is on the brink of all-out religious war. Can officers of the Imperial Police Force, Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant Surendranath Banerjee track down those responsible in time to stop a bloodbath?
Set at a time of heightened political tension, beginning in atmospheric Calcutta and taking the detectives all the way to bustling Bombay, the latest instalment in this ‘unmissable’ (The Times) series presents Wyndham and Banerjee with an unprecedented challenge. Will this be the case that finally drives them apart?
I have never made it a secret of how much I really love the Sam Wyndham series or how much I have waited for the publication of this the 5th book in the series pre-ordering it about 15 months before it was published. Was it worth the wait…. 100%… did I devour far too quickly ….. that would be a big fat yes …..
When Sergeant Surendranath Banerjee is asked to go on a secret investigation without the knowledge of Captain Sam Wyndham, he does not question it, after all it is a request made by a superior officer. What follows sees Banerjee on the run from the authorities and with the help of Sam he manages to evade them. What is not so certain however is if he will ever be able to prove his innocence or if the force that he has served so faithfully will turn their back of him and see him hung for murder.
I have loved watching the slow change in the relationship between Sam and Surendranath from their first awkwardness to the present where they are as much friends as they are colleagues. The fact that Surendranath feels he can turn to his superior when he is in trouble is testament to that. As they both put their lives and reputations at stake to get to the bottom of what really happened they are also battling the unrest that is taking place throughout India, an unrest that has been made far worse by the crime that Surendranath has been accused of.
Throughout the book and indeed the series the reader is given an insight into India in the time of British rule, the good and the bad on both sides, with events that took place woven brilliantly into the story to give a little more authenticity and helping the reader immerse themselves in that time. I wish I could say that it is shocking to think that back then there were places that Surendranath was not permitted to go purely because of who he was and you could feel his frustration as he felt abandoned by the country and force he had served faithfully but even to this day there are still countries and places that exclude people based on their faith or ethnicity so maybe we don’t learn from the past as much as we would like to.
There is definitely a different feel to this book, maybe down to the fact that it is Surendranath Banerjee that finds himself on the wrong side of the law and under investigation, or possibly the fact that there are now two voices being heard, that of Sam and Surendranath in alternating chapters, but whatever it is it kept me hooked to the very end. And as for the ending I am hoping that, despite how it appears, there is more to come from them as I am not ready to say goodbye just yet.
About the Author
Abir Mukherjee is the bestselling author of the award-winning Wyndham & Banerjee series of crime novels set in 1920s Colonial India. He is a two-time winner of the CWA Historical Dagger and has won the Wilbur Smith Award for Adventure Writing. His books have also been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger and the HWA Gold Crown. His novels, A Rising Man and Smoke and Ashes were both selected as Waterstones Thriller of the Month. Smoke and Ashes was also chosen as one of The Times’ Best Crime and Thriller novels since 1945. Abir grew up in Scotland and now lives in Surrey with his wife and two sons.