Troubador Guns and Saffron

Released: 31/01/2020

eISBN: 9781838598105

Format: eBook

Review this Book

Guns and Saffron

by

The love story of a terrorist.

“Hard-hitting and emotionally wired!” - Goodreads

“Addictive, fresh and enlightening!” NetGalley

Yakub, a militant, plans a top-secret plot, Mission M, to make the world pay for the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Hassan, Yakub’s nephew and the orphan of a militant, is entrusted with the responsibility of fulfilling Mission M.

Shehed, Hassan’s lover, is a strong-willed woman who tries to stop him.

And Rafi is a habitual crook who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Can Mission M be stopped or will bin Laden speak from his grave…

A tense and fascinating novel of conflict, both political and personal, and the extraordinary lengths people will go to protect those they love.

Alif’s bio

I write because silence is not an option. At the same time, my novels brim with hope in addition to having a riveting plot. My debut novel, which was published by a boutique publisher in Europe some years ago, was seen to be refreshing.

My latest novel, The Songbirds, a literary love story, that has received exceptionally good reviews on Goodreads, goes to the heart of what’s ailing today’s world and tries to find answers to our most pressing questions.

I hope you enjoy reading my novels.

This book was addictive. You wanted to continue reading even long after it was over. The characters felt so real and relatable, and the story was so original.

by Alicia


Hope, strength, futility, sadness, and long lasting fulfillment.
A tale of love and hate among the Kashmiri, Muslim, and the Indian state. Reading this love story will help the rest of us to comprehend the enmity between different Muslim sects, the Hindu beliefs, and the needs and history of the people of the Kashmir. The stories of the individual women and men against the background of customs, poverty, and anger are as complex as the history of the land itself. A very moving story meant to be shared and enlighten the readers.

by Jan


This was a unique read that was well written and had a premise that is not used in many books. I think that is why I enjoyed it so much. I have been reading a lot of books that are similar lately, so this was a breath of fresh air.

by Cristie


Where do I start with Alif’s Guns and Saffron?

‘Anita closed her eyes and clung to her father. In the firm embrace of her father, she felt safe. One bullet tore through her teddy bear. The next one pierced through her little heart.’

Quite a dramatic start to a quite disturbing account of terrorism, horrific atrocities in India and affairs of the heart.

What was disappointing in the first chapter was the way in which Alif gratuitously and crudely referred to the AK-47 machine gun as feeling like an erect phallus in his hand. And how did he get his new toy in a black rucksack unless it was a large military job, which would have surely caused suspicion.

To begin with I found this quite disturbing to read, and wasn’t going to carry on, but I did. And was pleased that I did. I learnt a lot about the historical issues surrounding India, Pakistan and Kashmir and the way in which Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs treat each other.

It was well written, easy to follow and emotionally wired. A very moving novel. As Alif put it, hard-hitting. I can understand why this author needs some anonymity at the moment.

Rafi, one of the main characters had an enviable relationship with his grandmother, Nanima. As the story unfolds you come to realise how significant his character is and how fate and decisions can change one’s path in life.

Another key character, Shehed, a strong woman, stood up against the Preacher and made comments such as:

“Sir, when Islam clearly prohibits terrorism, particularly prohibiting the killing of children and women, no matter what, how can you justify such acts?”

“When will you people learn that you cannot wish people of other faiths away? We and our children have to share the world with them.”

“You come here to incite people and then you return in your shiny car to your mansion. You have made a business of blood out of faith; shame on you!”

“It is not as simple as you put it. And, why would they convert? You scholarly bunch are not exactly the leading light for humanity, that people should listen to you and be compelled to embrace Islam.”

Sentences such as this made me think “He drew a parallel with their daily lives; they were living in poverty because someone, somewhere, was cheating.”

A work of fiction but the content is sadly so true to life. Alif includes the violence following the murder of Indira Ghandi back in 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards.

Bebe’s son, Monu. He was nine when they had taken him from her. First, they had dragged her husband out and set him on fire. Then they had come for Monu. They had pulled him from her embrace and dragged him outside. She heard her son plead, “I am thirsty. Please at least give me some water before you kill me.” “Come, we’ll give you water,” they had said, before burning him alive.

Some thought provoking stuff. Horrific and abhorrent behaviour.

‘It’s as if civilisation is a sham.’ “One must not lose hope in humanity.” “Despite all its weaknesses, maybe there is some part of humanity which listens. And cares.” “ Sooner or later, there will come a time when an entire generation will just stop and say enough!”

‘The world cannot go on like this. It has to change.’

A very good read. With only one error. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest unedited feedback.

5*

by Heather Love


Love love love this book.A deep insightful look into different mindsets and the paths they consciously chose to follow.
Stories of love and revenge and sorrow intertwine.
My only complaint is that it ended abruptly.

by Joyce


This was a great and poignant novel which is extremely relevant and needed today. It depicts the struggle and hardships of life in Kashmir and gives the reader a human and real perspective to understand the complexity of religion, gender, sectarian violence, poverty and politics in Kashmir and India. I really enjoyed the characters in this novel and truly sympathised with them. I wanted to continue to read about them and really wanted to know more of where their lives would go. This novel conveys the present day situations of Kashmir is a multi dimensional way with varying perspectives to give the reader a wider a fuller depiction of reality and this is why I enjoy the novel and highly recommended it.

by Fehmina


Where do I start with Alif’s Guns and Saffron?

‘Anita closed her eyes and clung to her father. In the firm embrace of her father, she felt safe. One bullet tore through her teddy bear. The next one pierced through her little heart.’

Quite a dramatic start to a quite disturbing account of terrorism, horrific atrocities in India and affairs of the heart.

What was disappointing in the first chapter was the way in which Alif gratuitously and crudely referred to the AK-47 machine gun as feeling like an erect phallus in his hand. And how did he get his new toy in a black rucksack unless it was a large military job, which would have surely caused suspicion.

To begin with I found this quite disturbing to read, and wasn’t going to carry on, but I did. And was pleased that I did. I learnt a lot about the historical issues surrounding India, Pakistan and Kashmir and the way in which Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs treat each other.

It was well written, easy to follow and emotionally wired. A very moving novel. As Alif put it, hard-hitting. I can understand why this author needs some anonymity at the moment.

Rafi, one of the main characters had an enviable relationship with his grandmother, Nanima. As the story unfolds you come to realise how significant his character is and how fate and decisions can change one’s path in life.

Another key character, Shehed, a strong woman, stood up against the Preacher and made comments such as:

“Sir, when Islam clearly prohibits terrorism, particularly prohibiting the killing of children and women, no matter what, how can you justify such acts?”

“When will you people learn that you cannot wish people of other faiths away? We and our children have to share the world with them.”

“You come here to incite people and then you return in your shiny car to your mansion. You have made a business of blood out of faith; shame on you!”

“It is not as simple as you put it. And, why would they convert? You scholarly bunch are not exactly the leading light for humanity, that people should listen to you and be compelled to embrace Islam.”

Sentences such as this made me think “He drew a parallel with their daily lives; they were living in poverty because someone, somewhere, was cheating.”

A work of fiction but the content is sadly so true to life. Alif includes the violence following the murder of Indira Ghandi back in 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards.

Bebe’s son, Monu. He was nine when they had taken him from her. First, they had dragged her husband out and set him on fire. Then they had come for Monu. They had pulled him from her embrace and dragged him outside. She heard her son plead, “I am thirsty. Please at least give me some water before you kill me.” “Come, we’ll give you water,” they had said, before burning him alive.

Some thought provoking stuff. Horrific and abhorrent behaviour.

‘It’s as if civilisation is a sham.’ “One must not lose hope in humanity.” “Despite all its weaknesses, maybe there is some part of humanity which listens. And cares.” “ Sooner or later, there will come a time when an entire generation will just stop and say enough!”

‘The world cannot go on like this. It has to change.’

A very good read.

by Heather


This was a great and poignant novel which is extremely relevant and needed today. It depicts the struggle and hardships of life in Kashmir and gives the reader a human and real perspective to understand the complexity of religion, gender, sectarian violence, poverty and politics in Kashmir and India. I really enjoyed the characters in this novel and truly sympathised with them. I wanted to continue to read about them and really wanted to know more of where their lives would go. This novel conveys the present day situations of Kashmir is a multi dimensional way with varying perspectives to give the reader a wider and fuller depiction of reality and this is why I enjoy the novel and highly recommended it.

by Fehmina


Guns and Saffron was a huge departure from the books I usually review but more in line with the type I used to really enjoy. I always enjoy a well-written story from another culture's point of view. Guns and Saffron gives us the view of several different Muslims Kashmiri characters and, both foreign to me. It also sheds light on the ongoing struggles in the region that don't often make our nightly news in the west.

A compelling story with an intricate plot it takes the course of the book for everyone to converge in fascinating ways.

by Jeanne


Someone I know is from Pakistan and is always spewing hatred about India. And although I understand the background - his family lost all during the Partition and was kicked out of India - I once told him I was sick of hearing that and he had to stop. But with this in mind and as I had liked the first novel by Alif a lot I picked up this novel to read and review.

The novel is about two young Muslim men who grow up in predominantly Hindu India and that is definitely not easy. While one is nurtured in a poor but loving environment (a loving grandmother, a caring Christian boss, a motherly Sikh cook), the other is raised by a terrorist uncle in a world of violence. One part of the story full of goodness and love and makes you smile, the other so sad you want to cry. But the author makes it clear that environment will form you but still one still has one's own will to choose what road to take in life.

The characters - even the minor ones - are very three-dimensional.

Large parts of the story read like reading a history book or attending a lecture about Indian politics. So you really need to be interested in that.. Speaking for myself I thought it an interesting read.

I will recommend it to my Pakistani friend.

by Wytzia


A well told tale of war, love and Kashmir. An different story from many books and well worth a read.

by Helen


 Alif

I write because silence is not an option; my writing is hard-hitting. At the same time, my novels brim with hope in addition to having a riveting plot. My debut novel, which was published by a boutique publisher in Europe some years ago, was seen to be refreshing. I wrote my new novel 'Guns and Saffron' under a pen name only because I went through a lot of change in my life and for now prefer some anonymity. I hope you enjoy reading my new novel.


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