It was around 5 hrs ago, that I started reading this book. My parents had pre- ordered it. When I read the storyline at the back, I decided that I would read it this weekend. And once I started it, there was no looking back. My class 11 environmental science project draft due on Monday could wait for a few more hours.
The book was excessively enjoyable. I loved the way in which the story brought together different dimensions of an emergency situation, from public opinion to political repurcussions.
I thought at first that I was able to relate to the story better because it was set in an uniquely Indian environment. But on introspection, I think that it is identifiable with because it is realistic. This is what would exactly happen if we were ever faced with a real epidemic. The book does not attempt to describe impossible and quite absurd scenarios of psychosociopaths who go about murdering people. And to a person who liked Robin Cook thrillers, this was a welcome and refreshing change.
But the novel’s authenticity cannot deny the pleasure it provided me to read an Indian medical, or rather socio-medical thriller. It was very fulfilling to read something one could relate to instantly. I believe it made me feel more invested in the tale. And I loved the dig at WhatsApp forwards! The scene where a man buys a smartphone for his father was quite touching and relevant.
The Beta Protocol was an intriguing piece of information. Though it seems cowardly, there must be situations where it is absolutely necessary. I liked the character of Nitin Phadnavis: stylish, composed and humorous. Maybe he could have acted more efficiently during the outbreak; but I think he is the embodiment of what kind of person I would like as the prime minister of the country. The Maharashtra CM’s character was also well formed as a lady who is impulsive yet brave.
The stories of the scores of other characters were also very engaging and will make the reader sympathize with every one of their peculiar circumstances.
The plot is given primary importance, and that ensures that the book is never boring. Though the first part was also very good, I personally found that the real mastery came through after the deaths started mounting. Which is a pretty awkward thing to say,but still. The chaos that reigned following the media report was depicted with extraordinary vividness.
I felt that it was a brilliant book. And I hope to see many more books like this which cater to the Indian audience. This book has made this weekend exciting and remarkable.