Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review : Breach by Amrita Chowdhury

Author: Amrita Chowdhury
ISBN-13: 9789350098554
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Hachette India
Number of pages: 352
Genre: Fiction
Language: English
Price: Rs.350 (Got a review copy)

About the Book

How secure are your secrets? Weeks before Acel is ready to file the global patent application for Colare, a wonder drug for pancreatic cancer, the research data stored at its offshore data center in Mumbai goes haywire and Dr. Udai Vir Dhingra, the charismatic, Ivy-educated young leader of its Indian business, gets blamed. Battling market pressures, media leaks, livid American bosses and crumbling relationships, Vir must find the real perpetrators or see his career-and his life-spiral downwards. Swept into a shadowy world of masked online identities and muddied digital footprints, Vir discovers that nothing is easy or obvious and everything has a price. Set in Mumbai, Washington DC and Suzhou, in an online-meets-offline adventure of cyber threats and IP espionage, drug research and medical ethics, strained affairs and lost love, disillusionment and hopelessness, Breach is a clever, fast-paced thriller full of surprises.

About the Author

Amrita Verma Chowdhury is the author of Faking It, an art crime thriller about fake modern and contemporary Indian art. She holds engineering degrees from IIT Kanpur and UC Berkeley, where she was a Jane Lewis Fellow and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon - Tepper Business School. Her work as an engineer in Silicon Valley led to seven US patents for semi-conductor fabrication-something to show for all those bad-haired days. She has done strategy consulting and board effectiveness work in the US and Australia and has spent long nights fitting five-syllable words inside two-by-two squares. She has worked in the rarefied bastions of Ivy League education bringing together ideas and people. She currently works in publishing. She lives in Mumbai with her husband Sumit, their two children Shoumik and Aishani and an assortment of pets including a cocker spaniel, a guinea pig and two turtles. She loves travelling, baking cupcakes with her daughter and hearing from her readers.

Gaurav Says

Few times at present have I come across meticulous thrillers that hardly have a dull moment in them. Previously, I have seen this trait in the works of film directors like Farhan Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bhardwaj, who know how to tell a story with style. Amrita Chowdhury has just about worded one of the best, stylish and pacing thrillers of 2014 that come at par with the directorship of the above mentioned personalities. ‘Breach’ captures that portion of cyber-crime, which makes you read pages after pages, just for the sake of knowing what happens next! ‘Execution’ is primary, which makes an author a bestseller and Amrita knows how to exploit it. She places each event of this thriller in a brilliant chronology. Right from the start, we find how loopholes in the cyber space can wreak havoc for giant companies, individuals and the economy in general.
Coming to the storyline of the whole book, we have one giant pharmaceutical company called Acel, based on Maryland, who are gearing up to launch their revolutionary anti-cancerous drug ‘Colare’. They have their offices in Mumbai, India where Dr. Udai Vir Dhingra is in charge. Weeks before filing for petition, the core team finds out a glitch in their test trials of Mumbai. Smelling fish, Acel hits the panic button and blames Dhingra for the ‘breach’ of information regarding Colare, from Acel’s well-encrypted database. Vir’s world takes a summersault when he finds himself tangled within a nasty web of online hacking and advanced programming.
Notching down from the high-profile hacking in the background, we come down to a parallel story of a genius national ranker from Korba who gets a chance to study with his cousin, Ankita, at one of Mumbai’s prestigious universities. Raghu, previously a topper in the university now faces an adversary in Madhu, who leaves him behind in aptitude. Seeking revenge, Raghu hides under the façade of masked online identities and hacks into Madhu’s online content. Furious with the misuse of her personal information, Madhu swore revenge. As painstaking and brain-slaughtering it can get, Madhu learns the tricks and ploys of online hacking and exacts her fair share of vengeance!
Two storylines, beautifully fuses together as we move further and further into the text. I’ve hardly been excited with tech-savvy novels before. My favourites being Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, Roald Dahl and Michael Crichton among others. However, the maturity and vigour with which Mrs. Chowdhury shaped her novel, it kept me rooted to the narration till I could reach the final pages. She kept all sorts of readers in mind while she scripted ‘Breach’. Be it for individuals who speak, talk and eat ‘Programming’ or the myriad scientists who are dedicated to the world of fighting cancer, the book has all sorts of information lucidly explained.
To speak more about the story would be to rob you off the chance of reading something truly amazing. Like I said, after a long time, I’ve had the good fortune to stumble upon an exciting, fascinating and truly sophisticated thriller. If I could offer any appreciation to Mrs. Chowdhury, I would ask her to write a sequel of ‘Breach’ with Raghu and Madhu on the fore. 

‘Breach’ is definitely one of the ‘coming-of-age’ thrillers in the Indian soil. Amrita Chowdhury has injected our bookshelves with a particular style of storytelling, which was previously followed by thriller writers Stephen King, Ernest Hemmingway or our very own Satyajit Ray. 'Breach' is fresh, detailed and flawlessly executed. I highly recommend you get a copy and get reading.

Reviewed for Dreams and Drama by Gaurav Dutta. Thanks so much , Gaurav :)


  1. Sounds exciting! Guess I just decided what to read on my way back to Kolkata in the train.

  2. That's a wonderful review, Gaurav. I have added this book to my wishlist. Will grab it soon. :)


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