Pluton's Pyre - Evolution of a Demon
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Suraj is a boy in love. He has lost his mother, has a father who is on-and-off concerned with his future, and an adoring grandfather. Circumstances force him to change schools and he fails to find the bonhomie he enjoyed in his last one.
His affections are spurned by a girl in the new school-as boys will in the course of their young lives-but he takes the rejection to heart.
A little older, Suraj falls in love again, and this time has reason to believe that his passion is returned.
Then he his heartlessly turned away again. His humiliation, he believes, is complete.
Urged by his never-say-die grandfather, he agrees to an arranged marriage. His bride is a sweet-natured thing, and caring of him and their daughter, and for a while, their lives are smooth and predictable.
So predictable that when Suraj discovers what he thought was his blameless wife in a clandestine meeting with her lover, his world collapses in wild anger around him.
Robbed of self-belief and pride, and aflame with a lust to reassert his power over women, he carefully hunts out the first of his persecutors and cruelly rapes her.
Finding himself grappled by the forces of the law, he is condemned to be hanged to death-a fate he agrees befits the 'losers' of the world.
Authors Gyandeep Kaushal and Nitin Kulkarni present a tale simply told, but which underscores the question that has plagued bio-genetics over the years: Is a rapist born, or shaped by events around him?
Is there anything, in short, as a 'rape gene'?
The jury is out on that one, and the writers circumspectly leave them where they are.