Sacred Games (P.S.) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $27.95
  • Save: $2.95 (11%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Sacred Games: A Novel has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by ToyBurg
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Good readable copy. Worn edges and covers and may have small creases. Otherwise item is in good condition.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Sacred Games: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 9, 2007


See all 33 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover, Deckle Edge, January 9, 2007
$25.00
$0.50 $0.01
Audiobook Download, Unabridged
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$12.00
$25.00 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 72%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


Spectrum by Alan Jacobson
FBI profiler Karen Vail's current case takes readers back to the beginning, with flashbacks to her rookie days as an NYPD patrol officer. "Spectrum" is a great way for new readers of the series to jump into the action. Learn more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1 edition (January 9, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061130354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061130359
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,197,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Sacred Games is a novel as big, ambitious, multi-layered, contradictory, funny, sad, scary, violent, tender, complex, and irresistible as India itself. Steep yourself in this story, enjoy the delicious masala Chandra has created, and you will have an idea of how the country manages to hang together despite age-old hatreds, hundreds of dialects, different religious practices, the caste system, and corruption everywhere. The Game keeps it afloat.

There are more than a half-dozen subplots to be enjoyed, but the main events take place between Inspector Sartaj Singh, a Sikh member of the Mumbai police force, and Ganesh Gaitonde, the most wanted gangster in India. It is no accident that Ganesh is named for the Hindu god of success, the elephant god much revered by Hindus everywhere. By the world's standards he has made a huge success of his life: he has everything he wants. But soon after the novel begins he is holed up in a bomb shelter from which there is no escape, and Sartaj is right outside the door. Ganesh and Sartaj trade barbs, discuss the meaning of good and evil, hold desultory conversations alternating with heated exchanges, and, finally, Singh bulldozes the building to the ground. He finds Ganesh dead of a gunshot wound, and an unknown woman dead in the bunker along with him.

How did it come to this? Of course, Singh has wanted to capture this prize for years, but why now and why in this way? The chapters that follow tell both their stories, but especially chronicle Gaitonde's rise to power. He is a clever devil, to be sure, and his tales are as captivating as those of Scheherezade. Like her he spins them out one by one and often saves part of the story for the reader--or Sartaj--to figure out. He is involved in every racket in India, corrupt to the core, but even he is afraid of Swami Shridlar Shukla, his Hindu guru and adviser. In the story Gaitonde shares with Singh and countless other characters, Vikram Chandra has written a fabulous tale of treachery, a thriller, and a tour of the mean streets of India, complete with street slang. --Valerie Ryan

Questions for Vikram Chandra

After writing his first two, critically acclaimed books, Red Earth and Pouring Rain and Love and Longing in Bombay, Vikram Chandra set off on what became, seven years later, an epic story of crime and punishment in modern Mumbai, Sacred Games. Chandra splits his time between Berkeley, where he teaches at the University of California, and Mumbai, the vast city that becomes a character in its own right in Sacred Games. We asked him a few questions about his new book.

Amazon.com: Did you imagine your book would become such an epic when you began it?

Vikram Chandra: No, not at all. When I began, I imagined a conventional crime story which began with a dead body or two, proceeded along a linear path, and ended 300 pages later with a neatly-wrapped solution. But when I began to actually investigate the particular kind of crime that I was interested in, a series of connections revealed themselves. Organized crime is of course connected to politics, both local and national, but if you're interested in political activity in India today--and elsewhere in the world--you are of course going to have to address the role of religion. These realms, in turn, intersect with the workings of the film and television industries. And all of this exists within the context of the "Great Game," the struggle between nation-states for power and dominance; some of the criminal organizations have mutually-beneficial relationships with intelligence agencies. So, I became really interested in this mesh of interlocking lives and organizations and historical forces. I began to trace how ordinary people were thrown about and forced to make choices by events and actors very far away; how disparate lives can cross each other--sometimes unknowingly--and change profoundly as a result. The form of the novel grew from this thematic interest, in an attempt to form a representation of this intricate web. The reader will, I hope, by the end of the novel see how the connections fall together and weave through each other. The individual characters, of course, see only a fragmented, partial version of this whole.

Amazon.com: You interviewed many gangsters, high and low, to research your story. How did you get introductions to them? What did they think of someone writing their life?

Chandra: When I was writing my last book, Love and Longing in Bombay (in which Sartaj Singh first appears), I had contacted some police officers and crime journalists. I stayed in touch with a few of them, and when I began to think seriously about this project I asked them to introduce me to anyone who could tell me something about organized crime. Amongst the people I met in this way were some people from the "underworld," which turns out not to be an underworld at all. It's the same world we live in, inhabited by human beings who are very much like the rest of us, even in their distinctiveness. For the most part, they were as curious about me and what I was doing as I was about them. They're not big novel readers, but they had very certain opinions about representations of their lives they had seen on the big screen: "Such-and-such film got it all wrong"--they would tell me--"don't do that." And, "This was correct, that was not." So I listened, and I hope I got it mostly right.

Amazon.com: For most American readers--like me--your story is full of slang and cultural references that we can't hope to follow. For me that's part of the charm--I feel like I'm immersed in a world I don't fully understand. Were you thinking of a particular audience as you wrote?

Chandra: I wanted to use the English that we actually speak in India, the language that I would use to tell this story if I were sitting in a bar in Mumbai talking to a friend. This English would be sprinkled with words from many Indian languages, and we would share a universe of cultural referents and facts that a reader from another country wouldn't recognize instantly. This, of course, is an experience that all of us have in a very various world. I remember reading British children's stories as a kid, and having long discussions with friends about what "crumpets" and "clotted cream" could possibly be. An Indian reader reading a novel about Arizona by an American writer might have no idea what a "pueblo" was, or why you went to a "Circle-K" to get a bottle of milk. But the context tells you something about what is being referred to, and there is a distinct delight in discovering a new world and figuring out its nuances. This is one of the great gifts of reading, that it can transport you into foreign landscapes. It's one of the reasons I read books from other cultures and places, and I hope American readers will share in this pleasure.

Amazon.com: Your book has dozens of characters who could live in books of their own. Aside from your two main figures, the policeman Sartaj Singh and the criminal Ganesh Gaitone, which was your favorite character to write?

Chandra: That would have to be Sartaj's mother, Prabhjot Kaur, as a young girl in pre-Partition India, I think. She's curious, innocent, and passionate; writing that chapter was hard and exhilarating.

Amazon.com: The movies of Bollywood (and Hollywood) are everywhere in your story, and many in your family (and you yourself) have been screenwriters and directors. For someone new to Indian film, what are some of your favorites you'd recommend?

Chandra: A very small sampling from the '50s onwards might be: Pyaasa (Thirst, 1957); Kaagaz ke Phool ("Paper Flowers," 1959); Mughal-e-Azam ("The Great Mughal," 1960); Sholay ("Embers," 1975); Parinda ("Bird," 1989); Satya (1998); Lagaan ("Land Tax," 2001); Lage Raho Munnabha ("Keep at it, Munnabhai," 2006).

From Publishers Weekly

Mumbai in all its seedy glory is at the center of Vikram Chandra's episodic novel, which follows the fortunes of two opposing characters: the jaded Sikh policeman, Sartaj Singh, who first appeared in the story "Kama," and Ganesh Gaitonde, a famous Hindu Bhai who "dallied with bejewelled starlets, bankrolled politicians" and whose "daily skim from Bombay's various criminal dhandas was said to be greater than annual corporate incomes." Sartaj, still handsome and impeccably turned out, is now divorced, weary and resigned to his post, complicit in the bribes and police brutality that oil the workings of his city. Sartaj is ambivalent about his choices, but Gaitone is hungry for position and wealth from the moment he commits his first murder as a young man. A confrontation between the two men opens the novel, with Gaitonde taunting Sartaj from inside the protection of his strange shell-like bunker. Gaitonde is the more riveting character, and his first-person narrative voice lulls the reader with his intuitive understanding of human nature and the 1,001 tales of his rise to power, as he collects men, money and fame; creates and falls in love with a movie star; infiltrates Bollywood; works for Indian intelligence; matches wits with his Muslim rival, Suleiman Isa; and searches for fulfillment with the wily Guru Shridhar Shukla. Sartaj traces Gaitonde's movements and motivations, while taking on cases of murder, blackmail and neighborhood quarrels. The two men ruminate on the meaning of life and death, and Chandra connects them as he connects all the big themes of the subcontinent: the animosity of caste and religion, the poverty, the prostitution and mainly, the criminal elite, who organize themselves on the model of corporations and control their fiefdoms from outside the country. Chandra, who's won prizes and praise for his two previous books, Red Earth and Pouring Rain and Love and Longing in Bombay, spent seven years writing this 900-page epic of organized crime and the corruption that spins out from Mumbai into the world of international counterfeiting and terrorism, and it's obvious that he knows what he's talking about. He takes his chances creating atmosphere: the characters speak in the slang of the city ("You bhenchod sleepy son of maderchod Kumbhkaran," Gaitonde chastises). The novel eventually becomes a world, and the reader becomes a resident rather than a visitor, but living there could begin to feel excessive. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Still...well worth reading through to the finish ...900 whomping pages.
J. Owen
I feel that I have learned a lot about India from this book; history, culture, ethnic rivalries, the Mumbai underworld and it's relationship to politics and film.
whistler
Aside from that, it's a character driven book and the beauty is in the way the story unfolds.
Alex Scorpio

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 67 people found the following review helpful By PageTurner on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This big, juicy novel exuberantly thrusts the reader into modern India like no other I've read. Although the story moves as fast as any successful thriller, and the plot careens energetically in many directions, it's all headed to one deeper place: to examine if the way we act in the world reflects who we are inside, or is an assumed, learned response to the circumstances we experience. With that difficult task in hand, Chandra, a master raconteur, tells the intertwining stories of two men, who should not, on the face of it, have much in common.

Ganesh Gaitonde is a small-time crook who becomes the biggest Hindu mob boss in India. A street kid with no resources but his own wits, he evolves into a violent, immoral, spoiled man/boy who is protected and catered to by his band of dependent henchmen. He is as fascinating for his acts of unthinking bloodshed and revenge as he is for his sentimental generosity; for his naive delusion that he can produce the perfect Bollywood action movie, as he is by his blind devotion to a renowned holy man.

His story is laid side-by-side that of Sartaj Singh, a Sikh police officer in Mumbai. Singh is carrying the heavy mantle of a respected father who has preceded him on the force, a feeling of ennui about much of his daily grind, and a failed marriage. When Singh becomes the unwitting ear to Gaitonde's last words, and oversees the discovery of Gaitonde's body following his bizarre suicide, Singh is dragged into Gaitonde's sphere whether he wants to be there or not. We are captivated as Gaitonde posthumously recounts his autobiography and Singh tries to determine if Gaitonde's influence over India had grown from grossly criminal to internationally threatening.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Akash VINE VOICE on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It's story time...

Mr. Chandra is obsessed with stories. One could argue that this is a quality inherent in all authors, but it is especially true in this case. While some authors dote on their characters and still others focus on the prose, it appears that Chandra's foremost goal is to keep the reader trapped in a tale, and another, and yet another until the reader is utterly disoriented but also strangely satisfied. We saw this in Red Earth and Pouring Rain, where the reader descended through level after level of storytelling and was then warped back to the present at hyper-speed. In Love and Longing in Bombay we read 5 stories on distinct emotional levels, but each interesting and engaging.

Sacred Games combines the breadth and scope of Red Earth and Pouring Rain with the realism of Love and Longing in Bombay and the result is a work of the quality that many observers felt Chandra was capable of.

At its most superficial level Sacred Games is the story of Mumabi police inspector Sartaj Singh's investigation into the bizarre murder-suicide of underworld mobster Ganesh Gaitonde. Along the way Chandra paints a vivid picture of crime fighting in India, including the corruption, scandal, and backroom deals all for a greater good. As one of Chandra's characters puts it, Mumbai's policemen are good men who are forced to be bad to prevent the worst men from taking power. However the main storyline makes up a small fraction of this nearly nine-hundred page marathon, there are numerous stories within the story that keep the book fresh.

Most notable among these subplots is the story of Ganesh Gaitonde himself and how he rose to prominence in the Mumbai underworld.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
82 of 93 people found the following review helpful By Susan O'Neill on February 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I rushed out and bought this book after I heard the author interviewed on NPR because it sounded like a great novel to read before my first trip to India. Unfortunately, my flight time came before I'd finished its nearly 1000 pages. By that time, it had hooked me so thoroughly that I HAD to know how it came out; I couldn't just leave it at home. So, gods help me, I dragged it along.

This is one honkin' heavy book, believe me. I was afraid that its weight might tip my suitcase over the rather meager limit for in-India flights, so I carried it the whole time in my hand luggage. Now, a week after coming home, my shoulder's still out of joint.

But I can definitely say, it added more to my understanding of the country than any of the travel literature I read.

It's a big Bollywood mess of a book--and I mean that in the nicest sense. Lots of intriguing characters, mystery, romance, big moustaches, the odd wedding, a virtuous mother, even music. Subplots and histories abound, woven deftly into the present action. Chandra has made his shady policemen, his corrupt politicians, his grasping and clawing would-be actresses, even his murderers, all sympathetic in spite of their actions. It's a long, rambling love letter to Mumbai, and yes, it's a complicated book. But Mumbai is a complicated city in a very complicated country; the scope (and the heft) of the novel feels perfect for the task it undertakes.

Don't be intimidated by the foreign vocabulary. Once you decide to take the unfamiliar words in context--hint: most of them are either profanities or song lyrics--and stop skipping to the dictionary in back, you'll find yourself immersed.

Susan O'Neill, author, Don't Mean Nothing: Short Stories of Viet Nam
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?