‘The Swaraj Spy is an engrossing story that delves into a place and time that writers and historians have unjustly overlooked for a long time. Vijay Balan guides the reader through fascinating landscapes, high political drama and the inner transformations that the savagery of war can provoke. A compelling work of historical fiction, based on the author’s granduncle’s life- well worth reading.’ DR. SHASHI THAROOR, Member of Parliament
‘It's a pleasure to publish The Swaraj Spy. It brings together so much - history, adventure, intrigue - and is such a moving, compelling story set against turbulent times. It captures perfectly both human emotions and political turmoil, and gives us a story that stays with us long after the last page is turned.' SWATI DAFTUAR, Executive Editor, Harper Collins India
Gripping read - Being a voracious reader once had lost interest somehow down the line ... happened to chance upon this book so picked it up...have read a hundred pages and am zapped at his vivid description of people and places ..you can picturise it and it transports you to that era...the story so far is so interesting that am finding it difficult to put down the book..couldn't wait to review the book coz if the beginning is so good it will surely get better and more exciting as it progresses...kudos to the author for the amount of research he has done and his attention to detail..and whole heartedly thank him for reviving my love for reading...can't wait to read what happens next. Leila, reader from India
The Swaraj Spy, based on true events in the life of the author’s granduncle, challenges accepted notions of wartime loyalty through the transformation of one man from loyal servant of the British Empire to rebel spy. Kumar Nair is dismissed from a British para-military unit for refusing to disperse unarmed women agitating for India’s independence from colonial rule. He moves to Singapore just before the outbreak of World War 2 after the Great Depression destroys his fledgling business. After the fall of Singapore, he joins a secret espionage school set up by Japanese Intelligence and the rebel Indian National Army in Penang, Malaya, to defeat the British and free India. When several cadets trained at the school are betrayed by a double-agent, and captured by the British, Kumar is sent on a rescue mission with conflicting instructions. The Japanese want Kumar to continue the espionage mission with surviving agents. Indian leaders, not trusting Japanese intentions, ask Kumar to save as many agents as possible and hunker down until the end of the war. Caught in a hall of mirrors, can Kumar succeed in his desperate quest to cross wartime borders, rescue his fellow trainees, and return to his young wife in Malabar?
The Swaraj Spy is a tale of three interwoven journeys: Kumar’s physical journey through a rich visual arc from Malabar paddies through the Anglo-Chinese mosaic of Singapore, pagoda-strewn Rangoon, and the jungles of Burma; the transformation of an impetuous man to a thoughtful soul in the midst of shifting boundaries between friend and foe; and the backdrop of India’s tumultuous march to independence.
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