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Sacred Games

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  5,191 Ratings  ·  679 Reviews
An international bestseller acclaimed around the world, Sacred Games is an epic of exceptional richness and power. Vikram Chandra depicts India and the city of Mumbai with extraordinary detail, pulling the reader deep into the life of Inspector Sartaj Singh—and into the criminal underworld of Ganesh Gaitonde, the most wanted gangster in India. Drawing inspiration from 19th ...more
Paperback, 976 pages
Published 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. (first published 2006)
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Mohammed Motiwala
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Mohammed Motiwala I haven't read Shantaram. I did not like the writing in this book. The plot gets dragged and I felt that there could have been much better editing.…moreI haven't read Shantaram. I did not like the writing in this book. The plot gets dragged and I felt that there could have been much better editing. The strength of this book is its characters and the overall plot.(less)
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(A-) 81% | Very Good
Notes: It was a frequent disappointment to find vernacular absent from the glossary, and otherwise indefinable by context.
Richard Derus
2017 UPDATE This is Netflix's first Indian series!

Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Seven years in the making, Sacred Games is an epic of exceptional richness and power. Vikram Chandra's novel draws the reader deep into the life of Inspector Sartaj Singh--and into the criminal underworld of Ganesh Gaitonde, the most wanted gangster in India.

Sartaj, one of the very few Sikhs on the Mumbai police force, is used to being identified by his turban, beard and the sharp cut of his trousers. But "
Maura Finkelstein
It took me a year to read this book. One year and exactly three days. At nine hundred pages, I spent 12 months considering how to approach the text, how to shrink it and put it in my pocket, my purse, comfortably under my arm. After 12 months I sat down, opened it, and proceeded to consume it in three days.
Sacred Games follows a Bombay police inspector and mafia Don: two men whose stories critically cross but only briefly meet. As the story unfolds, the list of characters grows to extreme propor
Saleh MoonWalker
Onvan : Sacred Games - Nevisande : Vikram Chandra - ISBN : 61130354 - ISBN13 : 9780061130359 - Dar 916 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2006
Shelley Ettinger
Well, what a little hypocrite I am ... because politically, this book has so much wrong with it on so many levels. So don't rush out and read it and then denounce me, and you know who I'm talking to. But. Still. What a story. What writing. What a great read. In its scope and thrust and breadth -- it is at once a detective story, a character study or rather series of character studies, a sweeping meditation on the post-colonial history of India and in particular the national question (I found one ...more
Indrani Sen
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, india
What a book! It took me a while to complete owing to the length. But a solid story with many smaller stories intertwined. The main protagonists Sartaj Singh and Ganesh Gaitonde are very very well written. Not that well covered but very memorable are the two sisters Jojo and Mary. But the smaller characters (present in abundance) are the true scene-stealers. Aadil who appears at the fag end, Sartaj's co-workers - Kanetkar (and his family), Kamble, Parulkar, Majid Khan; Blackmailed Kamala and her ...more
Prashant R
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vikram Chandra's "Sacred Games" is the "best" Bombay book, whichever way you look at it. It is set in Bombay and it is about the great metropolis.

Bombay is probably the main character in this "tome" (900 pages and 7 years in the making), which is at first difficult to penetrate, but completely addictive and rewarding once, you go past the 200 page mark.

What makes the book difficult to penetrate is the profusion of characters and the confusing at first-plot structure. (and to readers not from Bo
Mar 29, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Sacred Games’ weaves together the Mumbai underworld, its police and the glitterati, into a colourful mosaic that’s resplendent in multiple themes, voices and characters. At nine hundred pages, this tome of a book does look a bit daunting at first, but promises a lot of action if the reader is patient enough to sit through all of it.
Sartaj Singh is a middle-aged Sikh police inspector in Mumbai, corrupt yet likable, divorced yet not throwing himself in the way of every woman, sycophantic yet kee
T. Scott
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
This is, as many have no doubt noted, a long book. I read at night before I go to bed, so this was a long read for me, but I looked forward to being pulled into it each night. I won't describe the plot because you can find it elsewhere, except to say that its setting is Bombay (Mumbai) and that it's a book of dual identities -- cop and mobster -- and depicts each with varying degrees of sympathy, empathy and sadness. I felt both were at the core melancholy figures looking for something. One thin ...more
Julie Christine
This utterly rocked. It's epic crime fiction story set in the epic city of Bombay, weaving in the Indian mafia, Bollywood, Eastern philosophy, the class of ancient India and a thoroughly modern society, love, lust, loss. Yet its protagonist and reluctant hero, Sikh policeman Sartaj Singh is down-to-earth, an ambivalent but ultimately honest cop swimming against the flood of corruption and temptation in a city he loves. This is a 900 page undertaking but it moves with a terrific storyline and fas ...more
Mar 28, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, but especially people interested in India
Shelves: fiction
This is a sprawling novel about gangsters and cops in Mumbai, India. The author includes a Hindi glossary to assist with the Hindi words sprinkled liberally throughout the text. At first I was frustrated because I wanted to look all of them up, and this book is big (900 pages) and heavy, which made it very cumbersome. But as I went along, I recognized many of the words (especially the bad ones!), so I didn't have to refer to the glossary as often. The main characters are Sartaj Singh, a policema ...more
Христо Блажев
Свещени игри в тъмната страна на Индия:

Още в началото ще кажа, че не е редно да се дирят сравнения с “Шантарам” на Грегъри Дейвид Робъртс, тя е излязла преди тази на Чандра, но последната разказва “отвътре”, както трябва да бъде разказвана Индия. Детайлите, безбройните детайли, които изпълват тия страници, са разликата – тук е сбран един непонятен за европееца субконтинент, но към който можем да надзъртаме чрез книги като тази. И ако двамата главни герои
Jul 31, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dawood Ibrahim
So close . . . I almost loved this book, but somehow the whole was less than the sum of the (ample) parts. In the end, as much as I enjoyed each of the narratives, I didn't think that Chandra had the chops to integrate them, which is unfortunate since that seemed to be the whole point of the thing. Chandra gets massive points for ambition, but comes up short in the execution. The biggest problem is Chandra's inability (or, more charitably, disinclination) to vary his narrative voice despite his ...more
Atul Sabnis
I'll ignore the insets when I write about this book. Being from Mumbai and someone who loves the city more than anything, this book was a wonderful read. Chandra tells nice stories! More about this book in this post, in my blog.
How can I possibly describe a 947-page book in the space of a brief review? I guess I could start by saying that my interest was maintained all the way through, which is saying a lot. This book didn't change my life or anything, but it was a great read and a great story and I had absolutely no problem with the length. Although a few of the subplots and interludes were arguably less necessary, they were no less engaging.

"Sacred Games" explores the lives of two Mumbai men, a police officer named S
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
As someone with a 300-page attention span, I wasn't sure I'd finish Vikram's 900-page magnum opus. But the story is so engrossing I could hardly put the book down, and I'm not someone who generally reads crime thrillers. The language is stunning, the characters are rich and deep, and book gives Westerners like me a view into Indian life that we would never be likely to see otherwise. I found myself lingering over the images and ideas in this book long after the 900th page.
Sacred Games.. the book should ideally be named as '6 Degrees of separation' or 'Chaos theory' or 'Butterfly effect' .. etc because everyone & every situation & every thing is related to each other.. starting a chain of events, growing bigger & bigger till the end.. when we realise that this ripple which was bound to lead to a tsunami actually led to a bubble..

well its an interesting read.. with many plots.. the religious animosity, gang war of mumbai dons, underbelly of mumbai slum
Jan 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this was a thrilling page-turner. With lots of Indian gaalis thrown in. And of course, tons and tons of violence. And two amazing characters - Sartaj and Gaitonde. The tone of the book, the dialogues were right on the money, really authentic and all that. I really liked his language. But "literary masterpiece" - I think not.

Also, it was too bloody long. I like to relish a good book, admire a nice turn of phrase - and this book was full of those - but there were parts where I was just skimmin
Feb 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was looking for an Indian detective novel, and I surely found it. You have to commit yourself to this book, because it's an Indian novel in the Mahabbarata style...900 pages long. But if you do commit, there are several rewards. One, you'll learn all the Hindi/Urdu curse words you'll ever need to know, and find yourself wanting to randomly sprinkle them into conversation. Two, you'll find yourself addressing your cats as "Kevin-ji" and "Gilly saab," which is kind of cool, though puzzling to th ...more
Jul 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Indophiles
Really, really, really a good read. Pulled me in and kept me there despite its LOOONG length. It is almost a 1000 pages. But so well written. I love complex interwoven stories, stories from which other stories emerge. Despite not meeting characters for whole chapters, you recollect them easily. The portraits are quite nice but Bombay and its messy feelings run through the whole novel. It is replete with Bambaiya which one may understand using the glossary provided at the back of the book. Lotsa ...more
Dec 18, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chloe by:
I am a sucker for fiction set in or around Mumbai, so picking this up was a no-brainer. Chandra's first book, Red Earth & Falling Rain, was only so-so but this new book has managed to grip me within the first 50 pages. I'll let you know how I'm feeling after I get to Page 900 or so...

900 pages later, I am of the opinion that Vikram Chandra is in dire need of a skilled editor. This could have been whittled down about 500 pages and moved a lot more smoothly, yet the characters are still intere
My own life had taught me what was real, and I knew that what men can imagine, they can make real. And so I was terrified.
Out of all the books I've gone through in the last few years since I committed to having at least one 700+ page behemoth on my docket, this is likely the most casual. It was no trouble at all to crack it open at eleven at night after a full day of work and already completed reading load, not to mention my motivation for reading this when I did was the upcoming Netfli
Ben Thurley
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Glorious. Almost unutterably wonderful.

It is simply sublime how Vikram Chandra makes poetry and spine-tingling human drama from what – on the face of it – should be an overstuffed airport-novel blend of police procedural, espionage thriller, love story and gangster tale. Sacred Games is rich, ribald, cunning, sharply plotted (for all its sprawling 900 pages) and it mainlines deep into your brain through sentences of sensuous beauty.

From the first sentence of the first chapter, "Policeman's Day",
Rachel Pollock
Oct 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I loved, i loved, i loved this book. My god, i loved this book. Definitely one of my faves of this whole year worth of reading. I loved that it was this sprawling epic, i loved the twisty knot of its plot, i loved the complexity of the characters, i loved the structure of the dual narrative, i loved the little departures from that structure, i loved the way the whole novel is steeped in the intricacies of South Asian cultures. And OMG, but i’m in big love with Inspector Sartaj Singh. If you enjo
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Sacred Games is a brilliant crime epic, which impressively balances a literary detective and gangster story with a cinematically violent tale of contemporary Bombay. One of Chandra's most remarkable achievements amidst this novel of marvels is his ability to turn mundane moments into extraordinary ones; a father's lovingly ritualized inquiries into his sons' hygiene are just as compelling as far higher octane scenes of crime and gang wars. The overall effect for the reader is to have the breadt ...more
At exactly 101th page, a thought passed through my mind - "What could be alternative uses of this book?"

First, it can really pass off as a nice and "hard" pillow, when you need one and not a real one handy.

Second, you can hurl it at someone, a vermin perhaps, if you want to really "hurt" that someone. (yes, I am talking about the hardcover edition, which I possess).

Third, if your arms don't reach to the top shelf, you can use it as a small stool, that can give you the required "elevation".

Amanda Schaefer
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I got this book: At a used bookstore in Waupaca, WI, while on my used bookstore tour in March 2010.

This was an incredibly good book. Sartaj, the lead police inspector and one of the main characters, was my favorite. However, I also ended up really liking Ganesh, the seedy mob boss. I like them both on their own, but what I find really fascinating is how their lives parallel each other. They both have gurus (Sartaj - professional, Ganesh - spiritual) who let them down, the women they want to push
Jan 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This big, juicy novel exuberantly thrusts the reader into modern India like no other I've read. Although the story moves as fast as any successful thriller, and the plot careens energetically in many directions, it's all headed to one deeper place: to examine if the way we act in the world reflects who we are inside, or is an assumed, learned response to the circumstances we experience. With that difficult task in hand, Chandra, a master raconteur, tells the intertwining stories of two men, who ...more
Feb 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
"Sacred Games" revolves around the suicide of Ganesh Gaitonde, the most wanted gangster in India - a suicide that takes place in a newly-built fortified bunker in the center of Mumbai - and the investigation of how Gaitonde came to his end by Sartaj Singh, a once high-flying inspector on the police force who is beginning to realize he is on the back end of his career without much to show for it.

This, however, is no simple whodunnit. Rather, we watch Singh pursue leads on the Gaitonde case at th
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritos
No sé que tiene este libro pero engancha. Que a nadie le atemoricen sus 1200 páginas porque se van recorriendo sin apenas darse cuenta, siguiendo una historia que no se apresura pero que transcurre, se entrelaza y finalmente se cierra de una manera sencilla y a la vez brillante.
"Juegos sagrados" es un descubrimiento de la India moderna, de su ruido, sus olores, sus contrastes y variaciones, su pobreza y su corrupción, la vida difícil de unos y de otros. Un viaje fascinante a una realidad complet
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Vikram Chandra was born in New Delhi.

He completed most of his secondary education at Mayo College, a boarding school in Ajmer, Rajasthan. After a short stay at St. Xavier's College in Mumbai, Vikram came to the United States as an undergraduate student.

In 1984, he graduated from Pomona College (in Claremont, near Los Angeles) with a magna cum laude BA in English, with a concentration in creative w
More about Vikram Chandra...

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“Don’t worry. I won’t forgive you –’ Bashir Ali blanched ‘– because there’s nothing to forgive. We are both trapped, you on that side of the door and me on this. Do what they tell you to do, get it over with and go home to your children. Nothing will happen to you. Not now and not later. I give you my word.’ There was a pause. ‘The word of Ganesh Gaitonde.’ By” 0 likes
“In this city, the rich had some room, and the middle class had less, and the poor had none.” 0 likes
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