Syed Umr Iftikhar Ahmed, while reviewing Agency Rules – Never an Easy Day at the Office, had nothing but good things to say about Pakistan’s first spy thriller. Umr says:
“When I hear about 1990s of Pakistan, My mind goes racing back to the days of my childhood. That 90s kid who didn’t much care for politics, far be spy agencies of that time. Yet, ISI was something that would leave even my kiddo mind awe-struck. They do this and they do that, all that shadiness, always one of this uniquely tempting topics of hero-worship maybe… when told that this novel followed a storyline about an ISI operative, I wanted to get my hand on it and read it straight away. Yet, I was reluctant, fearing what if this story failed to appease those kiddo fantasies of espionage. But then I was also wondering if it would carry the true essence of a spy novel.
Following Kamal through the agency was quite an exhilarating experience. The story captivates the reader perfectly, taking place in 90s Pakistan with the theme that unfortunately instead of being controlled actually took greater hold after that period, yes… Terrorism. On one hand one who lives in this part of world, constantly hearing about “terrorists”, is fed up of the topic yet, on the other hand, can’t escape the sheer reality of it.
Winding the clocks back to 90s gives a good insight on how, after Soviet Union’s fall, this trend of fundamentalism and terrorism took hold around here.
Although at some points I found myself wondering about the authenticity and reality of what lies in between the lines, whether the ideas suggested of the Establishment’s “everything being done for national interests” were true or if they were just image-building tools for the public. Yet, this being a work of fiction, one ought not to dwell on it perhaps, regardless of anything, I for one hold Pakistan Army in high esteem.
At a time when people of Pakistan, as is usual, thanklessly blame the army for all there problems, this story tends to highlight how these very organizations operate to keep safe the stiff necks of the citizens. Perhaps army is not full of individualism, that we tend to blame it for, and acts as a unit for “National Interests”.
It’s definitely a book worth reading for those interested in the thrill behind the curtain of ISI. It’s packed with action, strategy and also sheds light on the clash of ideologies that seemingly has become an everyday part of our lives…. Is Kamal the Pakistani version of James Bonds????? 😉
P.S – Special thanks to the author for providing us, The Readers’ Avenue, win an opportunity to discuss and read such an amazing work. I suck at reviewing books, above is simply what I felt while reading it. It is indeed a highly commendable book and one definitely would be waiting for the next ones ….. 🙂 Goodluck!”