Deftly plotted, Unforeseen by Chandan Sen Gupta is the story of Yousuf, his wife Mariam, and their daughter Ayesha, who have traveled from Pakistan to a hospital in Gurgaon for a liver transplant. The girl, who is just ten, is suffering from a congenital liver disease, for which the only recourse is a transplant. The family has invested all their money to make this very important trip as the chances of success of such a transplant in Pakistan are very remote. The donor for the daughter is her mother.

As they travel in Samjhauta express from Wagah near Lahore to Atari, Yousuf comes across two young men with backpacks traveling on their own in an independent coupe. He finds their behaviour odd and when the train stops near Atari for immigration documentation, his inquisitiveness leads him to them. To his horror, the two of them try to kill him but he is lucky enough to escape. Before the attackers disappear through a small opening on the floor of the coupe, Yousuf is able to get a good look at one of them. But owing to the urgency of the trip and his daughter’s fast deteriorating health, he decides to keep the incident to himself.

Once the family arrives in Delhi, they check-in into a hotel. Soon after, when he reports to a police station nearby, he is told that they can’t stay in Delhi as the hospital is in Gurgaon which is technically in a different Indian state. He quickly heads back to the hotel but finds one of the men who had attacked him on the train close at his heels. The man’s front teeth are missing, but the canines, which are bigger than normal, are sticking out. He names the man as fangs in his mind and is able to escape through a back door along with his family.

Fangs meanwhile murders the hotel watchman. The circumstances are such that Yousuf finds he is blamed for the murder by the media. Without knowing he does, he becomes a fugitive. After by sheer providence he finds a temporary relief at the house of the helpful and generous Gulam Mohammed, he is once again on the road to prove his innocence. A series of incidents makes him take a train trip to Jammu.

At Ghulam Mohammed’s house, while he is on the train, his wife Mariam and daughter Ayesha accompany Ghulam’s wife one day for urgent grocery needs. There is a tragedy waiting to strike just then.

While Yousuf continues with his quest through the state of J&K, there is danger waiting for him at every turn. Keeping his head cool and pushing himself as hard as he can, in the climax, Yousuf becomes the reason for something so big that it has implications for both India and Pakistan.

Will the liver transplant operation be performed successfully? Are the husband and wife able to reunite in Delhi? Who are the people backing fangs and how do the intelligence and the police fit into all this? These are some of the questions that will keep the reader on the edge.

With all the elements of a great thriller, Unforeseen, blends history, politics, spies, and crime to bring to us an unputdownable book. At the core of this fast-paced book is the message of love, healing, and generosity that’s inherent to the people of the subcontinent. In that context, this book rises well above the rest and reinstates our faith in Indian democratic values and our secular culture.

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