Age of Vice is a novel propelled by the enormous wealth, startling corruption and bloody violence of the Wadia family - loved by some, loathed by others and feared by all. Among lavish estates, decadent parties, and predatory business tactics, three lives become entwined: Ajay, Sunny, and Neda. Ajay is a loyal servant, born into poverty. Sunny is the son of one of the biggest criminals in India. And Neda is the inquiring journalist, torn between her morality and desire. In a world fuelled by greed and corruption, all three of these characters must try to survive.
Age of Vice is an incredible novel that is masterfully executed. Kapoor has a real tact with words, dealing with issues such as human trafficking, rape, and murder with the utmost sensitivity and respect. In addition, the structure of the novel is masterfully executed. Kapoor seamlessly weaves together multiple points of view, along with multiple timelines, without making the story confusing or inconsistent. This method of storytelling slowly revealed the mystery of the plot without giving away too much all at once, keeping readers on the edge of their seats, eager to devour chapter after chapter. Twisty and suspenseful, Age of Vice is an addictive and engrossing read that is impossible to put down.
Furthermore, each character is richly drawn, well-developed and realistic. Ajay’s character is particularly enjoyable as we see him grow from a boy to an adult. Here we watch as Ajay, born into poverty as a Dalit (the lowest rung of the Indian caste system), progresses into the Wadia ranks after a chance meeting with Sunny in a cafe. It was interesting to see here how easily innocence can be corrupted and the extent to which fear can drive us. Moreover, Ajay’s character also created an opportunity for Kapoor to delve into the social system at play in India. His character reveals the inner workings of the caste system and how lower castes are treated more poorly than others. He also serves to demonstrate the extent to which Indian society is steeped in bribery and corruption. Throughout the novel, characters are paid off, bribed or threatened into silence, allowing the Wadia’s to continue to thrive. We also see here how easy it is for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer as the Wadia family destroys farmlands and slums to turn into lavish hotels, ripping families of their livelihoods. In this sense, Kapoor draws attention to the greed that fuels the elite of India and the way in which the poor, like Ajay, are left to pick up the pieces.
Age of Vice is a tender, heartbreaking, and compelling novel that exposes the very worst of human failings. With this being the first book of a trilogy, it will be exciting to see where Kapoor takes the series next!