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Life And Death On The Ganges

About The Book


A cold, rainy night in a forest across the Ganges, deep in the heart of eastern India.

An unarmed man with anger in his heart and a fortune on his person.

A handsome Thakur with evil on his mind and blood on his hands.

Both chasing a rare diamond, but for completely different reasons.

As the chase draws to a nerve-wracking climax, the night, too, is ticking down to a bloody end.

There are the others too—the Thakur’s beautiful wife, the sleazy psychopath, the angry muscleman, the corrupt dairy manager’s stunning daughter and the aging ranch hand with angry welts across his body and soul.

Each is a pawn in this bizarre game of life and death, and each with a story to tell. Or hide.

Will there be a sunrise for Shambhu? Or will he die like his friend, whose brutal murder triggered his perilous journey?

Find out…

About The Author

Growing up in Bihar through the troubled sixties and seventies, Hemant has witnessed turmoil from such close quarters, that he says he has looked into the bowels of the monster called violence. But in the same turmoil, he says he has come across character of extraordinary solidity – in men and women of ordinary means. Hemant says Prey By The Ganges has cooked in his mind for as long as he can remember.

You can find out more about the book and contact the author here:

Read the first three chapters of the book:



October 15, 1948.

By the river Ganges, in a remote eastern Indian village.

It was a clear October night by the holy Ganges. Clear, and very very still. It had stopped raining in the plains and early snowflakes had dusted the Himalayan ledges, from where the river came cascading to the plains. She felt and looked more settled. Gone were the muddy impurities of the monsoon and the froth and gurgle they brought. Her waters were cooler, but quieter, cornering boulders instead of smashing against them, gliding off their slick, moss-encrusted backs like gleeful kids giggling over slides. The river was wide here. There were times in the summer when two people could stand at its opposite banks and talk to each other. Now, she was hundreds of feet at her widest and you had to shout to be heard across the waters.

A surreal wisp of mist hovered over her cool waters, curling and vanishing softly into the milky ether. Every now and then, a darting bat or a preying owl skimmed over the surface, tearing the mist, ruffling its curls. Other than that, the night was absolutely still. A full moon slipped across the horizon like torchlight muted with butter paper.

Light was graduated in a diffuse sequence of grey, from almost black on the ground, to the softest touch of milky white in the silver sky. Tiny, unseen droplets of moisture landed noiselessly on the leaves and the grass. As each droplet fell, the tender leaves shivered and deepened their furrows, welcoming the gift of the Gods. Giant neem, mango, banyan and tamarind trees were sprawled out in the moonlight, soaking up the cosmic nectar of the night.

It was three in the morning. Even the dogs were asleep. Nothing stirred, nothing moved. Not a sound.

But 35 year old Hariya was wide awake. He had waited a whole year for this night. Once in many years, the stars and the planets lined up in a formation that showered the earth with unique bone healing properties. And Hariya sat up all night under the open sky with half-a-dozen wide-brimmed earthen pans filled to the top with freshly prepared herbal formulations. Hariya was friend, mentor, guide, cook for vaidya Shambhu Nandan, who was lying on a cot in a hut nearby, unable to sleep – in stark contrast to the serenity of the night. Flickering in a blackened alcove, a small, naked oil lamp kept him restless company.

On the outskirts of the capital city of Patna, this stretch of the riverbank was sparsely populated. Shambhu and Hariya did not live here. They lived in Shibgunj, hundreds of miles south of Patna. The hut was a kind of rest house for herb-gathering visits into the jungle across the river, and for special occasions, like the one tonight.

It was a night of waiting, and Shambhu and Hariya had decided to spend it fortifying their flagship herbal preparation with the healing energy of the rare celestial alignment of Sharad Purnima.

In the morning, they would offer special prayers by the river and pour the herbs into ceramic bottles, sealing each one of them with hot wax to keep the moisture out.

“If you soak in this cosmic rain enough number of years, you, too, will become as invincible as those herbs in those pans”, Shambhu often joked with him. Hariya adored vaidya Shambhu, a man he knew to be upstanding and devoted to his profession. In a silent prayer, he closed his eyes briefly, asking the Gods to grant Shambhu more healing energy.

Hariya sat back and rested his palms on the cool, soft ground, straightening his hurting back. He loved this time of the year when the air had a smoky, cool flavour and dew drops clung to the ground. Shambhu had asked him to wrap a light shawl around his shoulders to keep his head and back warm. But the warmth made him sleepy and he was using the shawl as a sheet on the ground. His eyes had become so accustomed to the dark and his ears so in tune with the sounds of the night that he could hear the rustle of leaves or a coughing cow in faraway fields. The silence was ethereal- powerful and deep. Completely devoid of all earthly distractions, the atmosphere was charged with an otherworldly energy- a sort of background hum that descended upon the earth from the stars above. It lingered over the trees and the grass like the fading note of an ethereal aum.

Without a warning, a blood-curdling scream shattered the stillness of the night. The scream arose from a cauldron of pain.

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Rating: 9.4/10 (7 votes cast)

Guilty, or not?

About The Book:

My Learned Friends is the fictional biography of Prem Iyer, practising in the Supreme Court of England and Wales. The book describes, in sufficient detail, and in a manner interesting and easily comprehensible to the lay reader, what the English Bar is really like. Despite contentions to the contrary, aspirants to the Bar – particularly those from the ethnic minorities – have found themselves confronted by enormous barriers. There are still too many of these left, like the finding of pupillages, the obtaining of tenancies, of getting instructed and finally, of being paid. During his career, Prem Iyer had met and overcome them. The state of the law, the operation of the legal system, its unjust impact in several ways upon the man in the street and constructive suggestions on changes to be made to improve the system, confluent with the story, all appear in the course of the book.

The opening chapter is concerned with Prem Iyer’s successful defence of one Eastwood who is charged with serious multiple offences of sexual assault. This sets the style and theme of the narrative and it has been maintained throughout the book.

The criminal cases described and dealt with until acquittal or conviction includes murder, rape, robbery and theft; the civil ones are taken right up to their final conclusions. Any ordinary person reading this book will discover that he/she is more than capable of coping with the legal matters adumbrated. The book spans a period of just over twenty five years and it concludes with a Judicial invitation to Prem Iyer to apply for Silk – to become a Queen’s Counsel – this is the story of him getting there.

There are two necessary interludes; one, Austrian with a romantic attachment, the other, Spanish, with a historical reference entertainingly linked to events during Prem Iyer’s early student days.

*At the time of writing all matters of Law, Practice and Procedure related in the book were accurate.


About The Author

Author, lecturer and barrister Karm Arger, born to Malayali parents in Malaysia, lives in the UK. His debut work, My Learned Friends, was recently published by Karmarger Books.

Visit or for more details.


Here’s the first chapter of the book!


Silently, the single wooden door leading to a long passageway inside the building swung open. From within, and out of the dark secret recesses of the large edifice, came eight women and four men. Striding purposefully, casting their eyes quickly around as they emerged through the doorway, they made their way in single file to what were, quite obviously, their own places; seats situated precisely in two rows along one side of the large room. This close-knit group which had been thrown together for several days were powerful people; they made up the jury. It was a long time ago that they had retired to consider the evidence in the case; this was their case, theirs the duty to convict or acquit. Now, at last, they had returned to give their verdicts. Suddenly, a hushed silence hung in the air enveloping the entire court. Members of both sexes of the general public sitting in the open gallery, who had been following the case, waited in suspense.

The Clerk of the Court, a short stout woman with close cropped fair hair, stood up. She was robed in a black gown, its extra long court-sleeves drooping down almost touching the ground. She lifted up her head to look at the defendant sitting in the dock. “Will the Defendant please stand?” It was a demand brooking no challenge. A crumpled, forlorn figure at the very back of the court slowly stood up. The prison officer guarding him arose with him. The Defendant shot a quick glance at the jury; he was terribly anxious; he wanted, and he tried, to read their minds but could not. Were they about to condemn him? He wondered about the future. His fate lay absolutely in their hands. This was a most important time, indeed, it was a crucial moment for him; now it was he wanted to speak with his barrister but that was impossible, for his counsel sat remotely in counsel’s row nearly twenty feet away, up there, in front of him. Even his solicitor’s representative was out of his reach because he too was sitting just as far away, close behind his counsel.

The Clerk of the Court addressed the jury. “Will the foreman of the jury please stand?” A slim, tall man dressed very smartly in a dark blue suit sitting nearest to her at the very end of the front row, straightened up.

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Rating: 4.0/10 (2 votes cast)