It opens with the assassination of a US Senator who was heading a secret committee set up to investigate the workings of alternate currencies, lands at the shores of Mumbai by a financial heist, the rest is mostly spent on proving the link between the assassination, the heist and of course, the virtual game (modelled on Farmville) that is alluded to in the title.
The author's expertise in peeling away layers of the story at breathtaking speed shines through, with each peeled layer revealing the direct and unsavoury links between the primary actors. Be it a bong hitting American teen or the head of the Retail Banking division at an International Bank in India, everyone is somehow related to each other; while the some of the links are quite predictable, the unpredictable ones come across a bit forced or at worst, unnecessary.
The level of detail is quite sparse and taut, everything appearing on the page is either the stepping stone to a reveal or is the reveal itself. There are sleight of hands and smokescreens galore but the author plays them in a deft manner. Characters are coloured a shade too grey - the good are either conveniently bumped off or are revealed to be bad in due course. Some of the cynicism is at Madhur Bhandarkar level but thankfully, the author keeps away from moralising.
There are some cheeky touches about the pressures of a coalition Government, taking orders from a higher command and so forth but Ravi Subramanian keeps humour to the bare minimum, lest it take the focus away from the plot and the narrative.
Overall, the book is a sophisticated and at times, convoluted read on how best to serve a very cold dish, the only caveat being that the dish is liable to be forgotten about as soon as the last page is read.
More details about the book and author below:
About the book:
Author's Page: http://www.authorravis.com
FB page: https://facebook.com/Authorravisubramanian
Twitter page: https://twitter.com/subramanianravi
(Disclaimer: reviewed as a part of the Flipkart Book Bloggers Initiative).