Author: Gautam Dutta
Rajat, Meenakshi, Sadaaf, Amol, and Shanaya are five University students with nothing in common- who should never have met in the first place. They meet after winning a lucky draw- the prize of which was to take part in a puzzle game. Though the game was engrossing, they were unable to solve the puzzle in the stipulated time. However, this lead to the beginning of a deep friendship between them. Their friendship blossomed. But ego and misunderstanding led to an acrimonious break up. They meet again- two decades later- when Shanaya is murdered, and the other four are suspects. The four soon realize that in spite of being estranged for so many years, there were unknown ties that bound them- ties of treachery, deceit, and subterfuge. Ties that have led them to come together in circumstances that no one could have foreseen. And the game that they had left incomplete two decades back has to be played yet again – on a much bigger canvas. Now they have to trust each other, clear their names, and get to the bottom of the mystery, which threatens not only their lives and relationships, but also the fabric of democratic India. As their travels and travails continue, they discover hitherto unknown facets of the people around them, as well as their own selves. Can they succeed in resolving the puzzle this time? Or is history doomed to repeat itself? As hidden aspects of the human personality are revealed, they realize that no one is what he or she appears to be. For the world comprises of ‘Strangers With Known Faces’.
This is the story of five friends who find themselves thrown together and discover friendship before drifting apart. Suddenly, a murder brings them all together.
The author has crafted his characters in a way that each creates their own distinct impact in your mind. The complexity and the way each chapter is dedicated to the back story of these friends was the most interesting part of the book. I enjoyed reading how each character grows and develops before the readers eyes. The complexity of the story, and how different stories mingle with each other was a delight to read.
Additionally, the way the author has described the meaning behind the main title was so bang on. I remembered the countless people who used to have such an important part of my life at one point of time, but now are strangers.
I felt if the author had developed the ending in a slightly different manner, this book would have been even better. As the development and the pace of the story that had been set initially was really great and mature, but the ‘plot twist’ came a bit too fast and the pace just escalated, the story also lost the realistic feel that we had previously and started feeling a bit filmy.