Title– God is a Gamer
Author– Ravi Subramanian
Publisher– Penguin Books
Genre– Suspense Thriller
The latest book from author Ravi Subramanian introduces readers to the world of bitcoins. The book begins with a conversation between two corporate leaders Vijay Banga, President of Mastercard International and Joseph Saunders, the CEO of Visa International who were worried of emergence of new payment system in Russia and how they asked favor from US government to have a check on that. After a year, Wikileaks emerges which shakes the core foundation of the US Government. With blocking of funding of Wikileaks by PayPal and other major payment systems, Bitcoins comes to the notice of the world which was till now in oblivion. This prologue was introduction on how bitcoins were first noticed by the world.
The actual story begins with death of US government official Gillian Tan dying in bomb explosion in Washington DC. The investigation of murder is handed over to FBI agent Adrian Scott and Tony. Subsequent to this an ATM heist happens and 5 Million Dollars are stolen from various ATMs of NYIB.
Meanwhile in India, the Phishing Scam in NYIB jolts the bank and brings rivalry of Malvika, CEO of NYIB & Swami, Head of Retail Banking to the forefront of readers. Aditya and Sundeep who were once working with NYIB run BPO Unit eTIOS which manages the card business for NYIB and is one of their major client. They also run Indiscape an online gaming company. Then couple of murders happens in NYIB India which links the murders to finance ministry.
As part of investigation of murder of Gillian Tan, agent Adrian and Tony come across cotton trail website which sells contraband items and can be accessed only over TOR network. The website uses bitcoins as the payment currency. The investigation brings them to India to bridge the broken links in their investigation where they are assisted by Kabir Khan from CBI.
What brings them to India? How murder in Washington DC and India are related? What roles bitcoins are playing? How ATM heist is linked with this?
There are various questions which come into the mind. To know the answers for these questions and others one needs to read this book.
Ravi Subramanian is an Indian author. A banker by profession, Subramanian has written popular thrillers about banking and bankers. An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, batch of 1993, Subramanian has spent close to two decades in the financial services industry. His book God is a Gamer (2014) is touted to be the world’s first novel about Bitcoins
The book is one of the best thrillers I have read recently. The introduction to the world of bitcoins and description of TOR network was informative. The plot is nicely thought through with the elements of love, rivalry, murder, technology, investigation intelligently knitted. The insight into online gaming and making it as one of the important element of the story is commendable. The chapters are short with max length of 4-5 pages keeping the interest of the readers alive. The book is full of twists and turns. The ending is quite different which justifies the words ‘Is revenge a crime?’ printed on the cover page. The book is an interesting read which will push readers to complete the book in no time.
However some of the aspect which I did not like is the significance of chapter 76. There were some other minor glitches when the suspense is unfolded in the end and some questions remained unanswered. I feel chapter 96 could be addressed in a better manner to cover all the points when the revelations are made by Adrian and Kabir.
I had read ‘If God is a Banker’ long back which is the first book by the author which introduced Swami, Aditya and Sundeep and how they came together in an everlasting relationship. I didn’t like that book due to which I was doubtful to actually go for this book. But I would definitely like to mention that this book is a surprise package.
I have to say that God is a Gamer is his best work so far.
I would rate the book as 4/5.