AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
'Ill-fated love and toxic family power struggles provide emotional drive for this big dynastic saga' JAKE ARNOTT, GUARDIAN
'Huge, epic, immersive and absorbing . . . certain to be a book of the year' LEE CHILD, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR
This is the age of vice, where pleasure and power are everything, and the family ties that bind can also kill
New Delhi, 3 a.m. A speeding Mercedes jumps the kerb, and in the blink of an eye five people are dead. It's a rich man's car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold.
Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an epic, action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family-loved by some, loathed by others, feared by all.
In the shadow of lavish estates, extravagant parties, predatory business deals, and calculated political influence, three lives become dangerously intertwined: Ajay is the watchful servant, born into poverty, who rises through the family's ranks. Sunny is the playboy heir who dreams of outshining his father, whatever the cost. And Neda is the curious journalist caught between morality and desire. Against a sweeping plot fueled by loss, pleasure, greed, yearning, violence, and revenge, will these characters' connections become a path to escape, or a trigger of further destruction?
Equal parts crime thriller and family saga, transporting readers from the dusty villages of Uttar Pradesh to the urban energy of New Delhi, Age of Vice is an intoxicating novel of gangsters and lovers, false friendships, forbidden romance, and the consequences of corruption. It is binge-worthy entertainment at its literary best.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
There’s a lot going on in Kapoor’s sprawling, ambitious novel. The timeline darts back and forth between the ‘90s and the 2000s. The action pinballs from the bleak rural poverty of Uttar Pradesh to Delhi’s pacy, corrupt glamour to the hippy hedonism of Goa. And the perspective switches between the three major characters—servant Ajay, notorious playboy Sunny and journalist Neda— with various others dotted throughout. Everything is thrown at the wall here and, happily, it sticks. The characterisation is so strong that the reader is aghast when the desperately sad story of Ajay is parked awhile to introduce other protagonists, such is our attachment to him. At the heart of it all is family: Do you conform or do you take your own path?
In Kapoor's searing portrait of India at the turn of the 21st century (after Bad Character), finely wrought characters go to great lengths to escape the bonds into which they were born. Ajay, from a desperately poor family and sold into servitude by his mother at eight in 1991, begins working for Sunny Wadia, an unhappy playboy and scion of a powerful family, in 2001. Sunny's father, Bunty, and mysterious uncle Vicky hold sway over whole swaths of the Indian economy and political landscape. Neda Kapur is a cynical journalist first drawn to Sunny by a corruption story she is writing, but is soon caught in the vortex of Sunny's lavish lifestyle of endless parties, drugs, and conspicuous consumption facilitated by the ever-present Ajay. Sunny dreams of creating new cities and carving a new path for himself, but he is emasculated by his father's hold on the family's empire. As Sunny and his friends' behavior becomes increasingly reckless, Ajay is made a scapegoat for a shocking fatal car accident, and Neda witnesses in full the ethical morass upon which the Wadias' success is built. Kapoor's violent and bitter story is deeply addictive; this spellbinder would be easy to devour in one big gulp, but it's worth savoring for Neda's uncompromising take on what she terms India's "losing age, the age of vice." The author possesses a talent great enough to match the massive scope of her subject.