Author: Kiran Nagarkar
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8172236336
From the backstreets of Bombay to the hallowed halls of Cambridge, from the mountains of Afghanistan to a monastery in California, the story of Zia Khan is an extraordinary rollercoaster ride; a compelling cliffhanger of a spiritual quest, about a good man gone bad and the brutalization of his soul.
Growing up in a well-to-do, cultured Muslim family in Bombay, Zia, a gifted young mathematician, is torn between the unquestioning certainties of this aunt’s faith and the tolerant, easygoing views of his parents.
At Cambridge University, his beliefs crystallize into a fervent orthodoxy, which ultimately leads him to a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. The burden of endemic violence and killings, however, takes its toll on Zia. Tormented by his need for forgiveness, he is then drawn reluctantly to Christ. But peace continues to elude him, and Zia is once again driven to seek out causes to defend and fight for, whatever the sacrifices involved.
Posited against Zia is his brother, Amanat, a writer whose life is severely constrained by sickness, even as his mind is liberated by doubt. Theirs is a relationship that is as much a blood bond as it is an opaque wall of incomprehension. Weaving together the narratives of the extremist and the moderate, the conservative and the liberal, God’s Little Soldier underscores the inherent ambiguities of good and evil, and the tragic conflicts that have riven peoples and nations.
No matter what garb he dons, or the faith to which he subscribes, Zia believes that he is the chosen one, destined to save the world.
Gifted mathematician, stock market whiz-kid, master guerrilla strategist, Defender of he Faith, Zia Khan is a man willing to die for his beliefs, and to destroy anyone who comes in his way. Zia Khan is god’s little soldier: a terrorist.
Zia’s fate is linked with that of his brother, Amanat, who chooses the middle path. Their lives diverge and their beliefs clash, but both are confronted in their own ways with the dilemmas of faith and betrayal, god and morality.
Crafted with a deft, daring ad certain hand, God’s little soldier is a masterpiece of storytelling. As a literary work, the novel effortlessly combines lyricism and learning, imagination and authenticity; as a modern-day allegory, it highlights the dangers of religious extremism of all varieties, and is a profound and unflinching enquiry into the most pressing issues of our times.
PRAISE FOR KIRAN NAGARKAR’S EARLIER WORKS
Cuckold is a fascinating book, a sort of fantastic marriage between the Thomas Mann of royal Highness and the Lady Murasaki.
No recent book has the strength and complexity of Cuckold, and non offers such rewards, This is a very important book, one which is deeply relevant to the contemporary world and yet will undoubtedly stand the test of time.
-Dr Susan Daruvala, University of Cambridge
Kiran Nagarkar’s Cuckold is a most extraordinary novel, it is so totally different from anything I have read in Indian English fiction that it deserves special notice and praise.
-Makarand Paranjape, The Pioneer
Ravan and Eddie is a first-rate novel, Kiran Nagarkar is a born story-teller with an unerring eye for detail, skilled in the use of words and an artist of the erotica. He will go very far.
-Khushwant Singh, India Today
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
KIRAN NAGARKAR is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Ravan and Eddie and Cuckold, for which he won the Sahitya Akademi Award. He has also written several plays and screenplays, both in Marathi and English.