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Bunker 13 Hardcover – 5 Jun 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; First Edition edition (5 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571217400
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571217403
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 14.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,684,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Not so much a thriller as a scathing satire, Bunker 13 is nonetheless full of all the familiar elements of the modern thriller: spies, action and debauchery. Investigative journalist Bahal is an expert on the corruption endemic in Indian public life and his first novel is sardonic in its portrayal of a world in which everything is for sale, all the time. MM, his alter ego and protagonist, peels off layer after layer from the world in which he moves and from his own identity; just as we think MM can not get any more double-dealing and mercenary, he always manages to sink to yet another depth. Along the way, we find out about sexual shenanigans at a military academy, the inventive revenges of the Russian mafia, the particular pleasures of hard-drug abuse during paratroop drops and the going rate for souls, heavy armaments and flayings. Bunker 13 is the site of a particularly vicious massacre in the course of the Kashmir conflict, but this is not the heart of MM's darkness, merely one step in his journey--this is one of the most abrasively upsetting books you will read this year. The other thing that has to be said about Bunker 13 is that it is scabrously, sardonically hilarious--you read it with constant amazed amusement and a real sense of guilt at finding it funny. Bahal has a real gift for pulling certainties about morality and who his narrator is out from under us. --Roz Kaveney

Review

A funky and fiercely contemporary novel of high-tech weaponry and hedonism which should be a summer sensation. -- The Bookseller

A vividly created milieu is the key factor in the success of this arresting literary thriller. -- Publishing News

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Fenelon on 11 Nov 2004
Format: Paperback
MM is, amongst many other things, a failed Indian Army officer, a thrillseeker, an investigative journalist, a major league drug smuggler, a member of India's high-tech elite... and... well, lots more.
He is the protagonist of an extraordinarily dark comic thriller set against the background of the conflict in Kashmir between India and Pakistan. But this is just the starting point - the novel starts to describe the rivalry (military and criminal) between two elite Indian regiments - both sides of the rivalry being things MM is fascinated by.
What at first seems like petty graft by a few officers soon escalates into a vast and ornate criminal and political conspiracy, described in incandescent prose - this has more sex, gadgets, weaponry, double-crosses and hairsbreadth escapes than any ten run-of-the-mill crime/spy stories, and is told at breakneck speed with dazzling wit. In MM and Major Rodriguez we have two truly immortal (and immoral!) characters, the complex relationship between them at the heart of the complex goings-on.
There are some absolute bravura pieces of writing in here - the whole sequence about parachuting on drugs is mindblowing...
In the same way that a good curry consists of many spices well-blended, Bunker 13 mixes Ian Fleming, Hunter S Thompson, Joseph Heller, Iain Banks, and a good few mystery ingredients you won't have tasted to achieve a particularly splendid piquancy.
Absolutely excellent - high-octane read-in-one-sitting stuff. It positively cries out to be filmed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Aug 2003
Format: Hardcover
Indian investigative journalist Bahal's fictional debut stars MM, an anti-hero investigative journalist who covers military affairs for a fledgling weekly magazine. The roller-coaster of a thriller starts off with MM on an undercover assignment with Indian army paratroopers in Kashmir. Before the reader knows it, the story is knee-deep in corruption, as he discovers an elite unit siphoning off captured weapons and drugs to sell on the international market. With this as the background for gripping set pieces of jungle patrol against the "Mossies" (Kashmiri guerillas), shooting heroin while parachuting, plus loads of recreational drug use and three exceedingly explicit sex scenes, the book rockets along at a furious pace.
However, that's just the tip of the iceberg, as it is quickly revealed that the crusading journalist also works for Indian intelligence. Bahal works hard to keep the reader guessing as to MM's true motivation: is he really a righteous journalist who hates corruption, or is he an Indian James Bond looking to take down India's enemies, or is he a recklessly brilliant hedonist who's playing both sides against the middle, or is he all of these, or maybe none? The second-person perspective writing helps to blur matters, but careful readers will pick up on one clue early on that may provide the answer.
The overall tone is very hard to describe. Loaded with military jargon, acronyms, weapon specifications, and machinations, the book reads at times like a subcontinental Tom Clancy. Yet the corruption angle and black humor is very reminiscent of Robert O'Connor's excellent novel Buffalo Soldiers, whose plotline also features military drug smuggling, or even the classic military satire Catch-22.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark R. N. Jones on 26 July 2004
Format: Paperback
Reporter Aniruddha Bahal delivers a rush of sex, drugs and violence wrapped around the extra-legal activities of his hyperactive anti-hero. The action is sparked by the double-dealing arms and drugs trade fuelled by the Kashmir border war, and you have no pause to deal with one slice of insider information before the next scenario has grabbed you by the throat. And more - it's written with a keen intelligence, a sly humour and a vibrant style that pummels you into submission.
The review quoted on the cover likens this to "Catch 22 rewritten by Hunter S Thompson". Neither suffers by the comparison - this is both a stand-out thriller and a staggering fictional debut.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Manish Sharma - Development DBA - Project Services on 31 May 2004
Format: Paperback
Indian writers. See, I know the type. They write about their protagonist moving to England/America/Canada/Italy/Spain and from there, they fill pages and pages with the discovery of the culture clash concept. I mean, NEWFLASH, DIFFERENT COUNTRIES HAVE DIFFERENT WAYS OF LIFE! Damn, call the cops, hold the press. Not interested. BUNKER 13. I've been wating all life for a book by an Indian author that's not about the boredom of the high rise flat dwellers of Bombay. Imagine Catch 22, make it snort a line of M*A*S*H, freebase some Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, drop in a truckload of drugs, booze, women, corrupt army officials with egos the size of Bournemouth, the Kashmir conflict, high tech weapons, injecting H while in freefall and then seeing who chickens out by releasing their parachute first and a sex survey. Done that? Well, you've just about got it. It's breathless, urgent, relevant, topical, important and laugh out loud funny and the pace moves like a steam train. It's utterly mental. Nothing else this year will come close. Order it man, what the hell you waiting for?
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By C. J. Statham on 31 Mar 2005
Format: Paperback
All in all, I can truly say that this book is worth reading. It's fast, hard-edged and wonderfully sardonic in places. The content has a plethora of innuendos and the turning, twisting story is a great exmaple of the author's ability to keep his reader firmly in check. However, after the reviews of this book I have to admit that I felt slightly let down. The authors perspective is original, but rather tiresome to follow at times. But this musn't put anyone off the scent! The book is a rip-roaring caper eminating from the journalistic, road-mapped eyed journey's of the Hunter S Thompson camp. Any book that even suggests wooing a lady with a mixture of olive oil and poppers or sky diving on Heroin is in my book, interesting... to say the least.
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