A Cause Untrue is a formula novel. There is violence, sex, even car chase, international conspiracy, plane hijack and eye ball to eye ball war situation. The Tamil terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is the centre point of the plot. The story weaves around the way the group unleashes terror across the globe. The spotlight is on Canada which is mulling some tough measures against the militants’ activities in the country. The period is post IPKF and post Rajiv Gandhi.
The Sri Lankan forces have their hands full with the LTTE engaging them in the jungles and cities in Sri Lanka and on multiple locations abroad. The plot shifts from city to city, moving the reader at an engaging pace. One of the heroes in the novel is Dayan Premasiri, Corporal in the 1st Special Forces Regiment who leads the operations abroad.
The author of the novel David Blacker, born in Colombo, served the Sri Lankan Army in the 1990s and has been part of close combats, the first of which when he was only 19. His army background shows in the narration, in elaborate and technical details of weapons, positions and coded conversations. There is an underlying awe about the LTTE in the writing – not the ideology but the technique.
The precision of the terrorists planning and the preemptive capacity of the Special Forces is the core of the suspense. The LTTE manipulates the media, reaching their versions ahead of the official version and thereby leaving the explanations to the latter. Reports of huge success to the LTTE and heavy casualty on the Lankan army are published while in reality, the army had captured vast areas from under the rebels. The novel stays clear of the political debate, concentrating entirely on the military side.
The terrorists target Canada interests world over. They blackmail the wife of the Foreign Minister of Canada, with photographs of her and her lover, the personal security personnel of the minister. She is tricked into carrying an attaché with explosives, which explodes mid air killing her, her husband and all on board. Another group of terrorists, led by a woman, capture the Canadian Embassy in Colombo and take hostages, demanding the release of all Tamil political prisoners. Operation Sita releases all but one hostage, who is shot dead in front of the BBC camera, after being raped, on camera.
The high point of terror attack is the hijacking of a Canadian Airways plane. The plane is stormed by the Lankan troops in Operation Rama. It later transpires that the hijack was aided by the Sri Lankans in order to blame the LTTE and add to its terror list this ghastly crime.
In the middle of all the actions of Operation Rama and Operation Sita, INS Vikrant, the Indian fighter ship is seen moving too close to the waters of the island nation and the defence forces are huddled in a meeting to decide the nitty-gritty of the defence mechanism. However the ship changes its course apparently under a UN plea.
The book begins with the quote from Oscar Wilde “A thing is not necessarily true just because a man dies for it.” True enough. A racy novel.
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