South Asia in spotlight in Hillary Clinton's new political thriller

South Asia and South Asians figure prominently in an upcoming international political thriller penned by former US Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has co-authored the book with the New York Times’ bestseller Canadian novelist Louise Penny

Sep 01, 2021
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Hillary Clinton

South Asia and South Asians figure prominently in an upcoming international political thriller penned by former US Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has co-authored the book with the New York Times’ bestseller Canadian novelist Louise Penny.

‘State of Terror’ is Hillary Clinton’s  set in the “Byzantine” world of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. It takes off with a “baffling text from an anonymous source” received by an Indian American Foreign Service Officer (FSO), Anahita Dahir, according to an IANS despatch in Indian media. 

Hillary, who lost in the 2016 US presidential election to Donald Trump, has thus followed in the footsteps of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, in her journey as a thriller writer. The uncannily timed book, published by Simon & Schuster, is set to release on October 12, IANS said.

According to a preview of the novel available on the Simon & Schuster website, the story begins with the election of a new US President, who appoints his political rival, Ellen Adams, as his Secretary of State (Hillary had contested in the Democratic Party primaries against Barack Obama in the run-up to the 2008 elections).

And then comes the text message to Anahaita (who could be modelled after one of Hillary’s closest aides, Pakistani American Huma Abedin), which was actually a coded warning. It is significant that an Indian American aide is a major protagonist of the book that is bound to get global attention, a testament to the four million-strong community's steady rise to prominence in almost every sphere of American public life as evidenced by the elevation of Kamala Harris as Vice President making her, as is often said, a "heartbeat away from the presidency". 

What follows in the thriller is a series of terrorist attacks on American targets and the start of “an international chess game involving the … Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning terrorist organisation; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena.”

The last bit sounds too much like the present state of the Biden administration.

Pitted against this “intricate, carefully constructed conspiracy” are three individuals sucked into this explosive situation: the “passionate young FSO; a dedicated journalist; and a smart, determined, but as yet untested new secretary of state”.

Hillary’s collaborator, Penny, is best known for her Quebec-based mystery novels centered on the work of her fictional character, Francophone chief inspector Armand Gamache.

Hillary, like her husband, has been a prolific writer, whose first book was the best-selling ‘It Takes A Village’ (1995), followed by many others on different subjects, including her account of her tenure as the 67th US Secretary of State, ‘Hard Choices’.