Tiger Isle or Pulipore, the corruption capital of the world that mysteriously emerged from the depths of the waters of Southeast Asia in 200 CE, spirals towards its tipping point in 2012.
Hundreds of billions of dollars of cost over-inflated defence and other government procurement and infrastructure development contracts, national projects “that MUST not fail, ever” and the cosy “win-win” relationship between government and fraudtrepreneur crony “corporat captains of industry”, send Tiger Isle hurtling towards the precipice of third-world status and bankruptcy.
Tiger Isle’s evil and despotic President Kapalin plays every card, from race to Tigerist religion to hounding his political nemesis, Maitreya, with trumped-up rape and sodomy charges, to cling on to power. Failure is not an option, as he and his ambitious and self-promoting wife, Natasha, are also implicated in the cover-up of the gruesome murder of Tiger Isle’s Oscar-winning actress, dynamited to bits in a secluded forest.
Now, government auditor Rekha and her seven best friends race against time and the threat of a prophecy being fulfilled, to save Tiger Isle and its 30 million inhabitants from annihilation, even as Kapalin plots and embarks upon apocalyptic plans that could prove to be the harbinger of World War III.
On the horizon, Rekha, married and a mother of two, sees the looming menace and racist aims of Kapalin’s mentor, bitter ex-President Bhairav, who stirs up extremist and right-wing Tigerist sentiments to undermine Kapalin and replace him with his own son as President.
The fate of a nation hangs in the balance as Rekha prepares for battle with her famous cry of “we are all of One Race, the Human Race”.
Mixing suspense with humour and pathos, E.S. Shankar’s marvellously written, original and stunning debut novel Tiger Isle – A Government of Thieves is a classic story of endemic corruption in Southeast Asia and its racial, multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural democracy.