In a taut and racy thriller involving the calisthenics of a myriad intelligence agencies, convolutions of supernatural forces and the contortions of Quantum Mechanics and Particle Physics, Abhinav Singh’s “The Last Attractor of Chaos” (“The Book”) makes for some interesting and vigorous bout of reading. The book begins with a military exercise gone awry. Mahesh Mehta a hacker par excellence is recruited by the Indian intelligence agency to ‘scramble’ a distress signal emanating from an armed convoy under attack from a team of commandos. This supposedly elaborate ‘military drill’ is for ensuring that in the event the nation’s deadliest assets such as a nuclear warhead are being sabotaged, the National Security Guard neutralizes the situation in the shortest possible time frame. As Mehta realizes to his utter chagrin and dread, the exercise far from being a simulated sequence is one executed by rogue elements! India’s top secret weapon, the KALI (an acronym for Kilo Ampere Linear Injector) capable of nullifying and charring the entire electronics infrastructure of a city goes missing and when Mehta is found hanging from the ceiling of a non-decrepit dwelling, this chain of catastrophe triggers a massive panic in the highest echelons of India’s political and military establishment.
In the very eye of the storm is Ms. Shruti Rathore, a former field operative with the redoubtable R&AW, India’s clandestine intelligence network. Married to a physicist at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (“BARC”), Shruti has relinquished her role as a field operator and finds dull succor as a desk agent. A call made by a terrified Mahesh Mehta just before his death finds Shruti in the very vortex of chaos that threatens to disrupt not only her life but also has the potential of bringing untold harm and peril to both her unborn child and her husband, Ashwin Rathore. Her worst fears materialize when Ashwin is mistakenly assassinated in place of Shruti. This is where the book takes on a curious hue. To desist from spoiling the curiosity and enthusiasm of eager readers, let me just restrict by stating that Ashwin meets a curious supernatural entity called Tantunam Anuha and it is up to both of them to secure the safety of Shruti.
What follows is a complex web of plots and sub-plots, acts of espionage and feats of agents and double agents, hail of bullets and hailstorms of deceit and deception. The narrative is strong and honest and the pace of the storyline, unrelenting. Mr. Singh avoids both verbiage and bombast and takes refreshing recourse to simplicity and structure. The personality of Shruti both warms the cockles of the heart as well as raises more than the mere proverbial eyebrow! The conversations between Ashwin and Tantunam however may be a tad taxing on the reader especially when the duo hold forth and wax eloquent over the esoterica of Particle Physics, Quantum Mechanics and the machinations of consciousness. Watch out for Mr. Dhirendra Vashist!
“The Last Attractor” of chaos marks a promising debut for Abhinav Singh and if this is a sign of things to come, it won’t be long before readers would be well acquainted with this author who possesses an enthusiastic and candid style of writing.