FICTION

The Mountain Shadow

Grove. Oct. 2015. 880p. ISBN 9780802124456. $32.50; ebk. ISBN 9781939126238. F
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As flamboyant as is the life of this novel's hero, the author's experience has been even more so. Sentenced to 19 years in prison in Australia for armed robbery in 1978, Roberts escaped in broad daylight two years later and hid in India for a decade. Six more years in prison followed, during which he wrote Shantaram (2003). It was an instant best seller; the film rights were sold for $2 million. In this second installment of Aussie criminal-on-the-run Lin's action-packed life, he's in Bombay, forging documents for a new Mafia family while mourning the loss of his mentor and his beloved, who married a tycoon. Roberts's plot brims with enough adventure for two novels and dozens of colorful, appealing characters. Bombay is so lovingly depicted as to seem almost a fully fleshed character in its own right. Digressions into Eastern thought—in one case, 14 laborious pages—slow down the narrative but not for long. While the book ends happily, it's not so much a resolution as a tidying up.
VERDICT This long-anticipated sequel is over the top and messy, but that's part of its charm. The first book was a hit, and this volume will follow suit. [See Prepub Alert, 5/15/15.]

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