Once upon a time, not so long ago, people used to travel en masse to places like Kabul or Peshawar. On the board of the Magic Buses, adventurers hippies were going Far East looking for enchantement, drugs and alternative realities. I am not sure if those frequent contacts with the local cultures and humans contributed to a different perception of those places, or a higher tolerance, but in any case, I suppose the awareness and the acknowledgement for the existence of those places was higher than nowadays.
Dan, Fred, Tom and Thierry are four of those people, four friends on their way around the region. On their way to Kathmandu, they are getting involved in various drug-related incidents and adventures. One of them, Fred, will simply disappear once they arrived at their destination. With him, an important amount of drug money. 25 years later, the story is revived and the friends, and Dan´s son are about to return to Kathmandu to reveal an old mystery and many human truths.
Beyond the very loaded action line, which appeals to the action-thirsty reader, The Devil´s Road to Kathmandu by the author and journalist Tom Vater has very fine human observations and a well-tempered timeline. The idea of coming back and forth from a period of time to another is a frequent choice of plot development, but it is not a guarantee for a great story as it can only split the events without securing a proper story flow. In this case though, the two timelines - 1970s and 2000s - are well connected and enrich the narrative mutually. It creates the background for further story developments and setting of new actions.
Another part of the book that I loved was the local ambiance and the picturesque landscapes featured. As someone dearly missing travel right now and always on sought for travel writing inspiration, the book has good samples of wordsmitten descriptions of far away places.
Rating: 4 stars
Disclaimer: Book offered by the author in exchange for an honest review