The title city of Sagramanda in Alan Dean Foster's "Novel of Near-Future India" is an overpopulated and chaotic metropolis. Riots crop up daily and some poorer inhabitants have taken to cannibalism. Add to that an elusive serial killer and a hungry tiger prowling the suburbs and Sagramanda becomes a wonderful place for one man to go unnoticed.
Taneer Buthalee decides Sagramanda is an excellent place to hide after stealing a genetic engineering secret worth billions. He intends to sell it to the highest bidder, but his ex-employer wants it back. They send out Chalcedony Schneemann, their best operative, to recover their information. To complicate matters Taneer is in a relationship with Dephali, an Untouchable. By their relationship Taneer has defiled his upper-caste family and his father has set out to kill him to restore their family honor.
There's a lot of fast-paced action in Sagramanda. Throughout the book, four main story lines are followed: Taneer's, the serial killer, the tiger and Chal's. It was interesting to see how all these lines crossed and came together in the end. The city itself plays a major role in this novel and it was interesting to see a setting not usually found in science fiction thrillers. Foster does a great job of showing the differing cultures and attitudes within India. For me, the most interesting character was the shop keeper Taneer employs to find a buyer and I was a bit disappointed that he didn't play a bigger part.
Sagramanda is a techno thriller set in the near future. Author Alan Dean Foster is a wonderful storyteller and his Indian city read as a real and complex place full of well-formed characters. While this is not the best novel I've ever read, its certainly worth a look if you like action and thrillers.
Sagramanda by Alan Dean Foster
Published by Pyr
Sagramanda is available at Amazon.com
Pyr Publishing provided me with a free review copy of Sagramanda