Aroon Raman’s first thriller The Shadow Throne was set in the immediate aftermath of the killing of Osama bin Laden by US Navy Seals in May 2011. When it was discovered that the mastermind of 9/11 was located along with his large family in a secure building close to the Army HQ in Pakistan’s Abbottabad, there was enormous outrage and shock all over the world. Pakistan’s duplicity in the so-called ‘war on terror’ was thoroughly exposed. Amidst this huge wave of condemnation, the country was for a moment like a hare caught in a headlight beam: shocked and paralysed, with no idea of how to react or explain away the crisis of its own making.
On the other side of the border, India should have been crowing and saying ‘We told you so…’ Yet this country too was in the grip of another type crisis. Under the UPA 2, the slide into corruption and lack of direction in all spheres of public life seemed to be taking the country down a negative economic and social spiral. Governance had all but come to a halt and every department of the government seemed to be its own master.
So two traditional enemies, each caught in a different crisis, facing each other across a deadly border. The possibilities were endless; the situation seemed tailor-made for a thriller and the result was a nuclear Armageddon plot as developed in The Shadow Throne.
It might interest the reader to know that Aroon met all sorts of interesting people to paint an authentic backdrop for the novel: retired people within Indian intelligence, armed forces personnel and historians to create a chilling, yet believable story. Very interestingly, people ‘in the know’ wrote to him after the book was published to say that the scenario in the book ‘was not as completely impossible as we might think’. Compelling fiction does indeed spring from fact.
The result was a debut national bestseller which received wide critical acclaim for being a thriller that was a ‘roller coaster ride of nail-biting suspense.’