Having had the opportunity to get acquainted with Fazle Chowdhury’s previous work, Never among equals, I was looking forward to read a twisted political thriller. And this book, The secrets we live in, not only proved me right but surpassed my expectations.

The book follows a very knotty plotline. It begins with an array of characters zooming in and out of the scenes. Amongst all, Zain is our focal point. He is a kind hearted diplomat who goes out of the way to help the citizens. He has been a peoples favourite for all the right reasons and therefore a target of envy for his colleagues.

At the crux of this plot lies a ballistic nuclear deal which is going to be a game changer for Republique and the other ambassadors are either trying to support, liaison or stop the progress of the nuclear experiments. Alongside is the possibility of Zain Auzaar’s assassination.

As we delve deeper into this masterpiece we see the dynamics of relationships and how they are deftly enmeshed by the author. Chowdhury has skillfully crafted every character. What attracted me the most is that every character has a grey shade. Zain, especially, reminded me of Dr. Shashi Tharoor. His tact, this gait, his stance had an uncanny resemblance to Dr. Tharoor, I felt. Alongside the characters of Salima, Berzad, Mazaar, Ferdash became synonymous with integrity for me. Even small characters played a major role in this book.

The author dextrously brings out the pork barrel politics, rivalry, logrolling, payola and everything between and beyond that forms the basis of politics.  But there is a tinge of romance too to this story. There are shades of love, loss, longing, hatred and revenge.

All-in-all, this political thriller took me someplace else. I was completely invested in it while I was reading it. It is a unique political thriller that is fast paced and unpredictable till the epilogue.

Last word – Recommended if you want to read an all-consuming political thriller with an unparalleled plotline.

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