The Rataban Betrayal

An espionage thriller set in the Himalayas. Colonel Imtiaz Afridi, India’s legendary spymaster, uncovers a plot to assassinate the Dalai Lama. Enlisting the help of Anna Tagore, a young agent from the Research and Analysis Wing, Afridi tracks down a mysterious sniper with a brutal agenda that threatens to resurrect ghosts of the Cold War. In the process, Afridi confronts haunting secrets from his own past.


On the cover of Stephen Alter’s The Rataban Betrayal, Bollywood biggie Vishal Bhardwaj hails the novel for being “A high-altitude thriller! Explosive… ready for celluloid!” Truer words are seldom spoken in the rarefied air of blurbs and high literature. The Rataban Betrayal is a fiercely intelligent thriller which maintains a frenetic pace throughout.

Aditya Mani Jha, The Sunday Guardian

Alter brings to his thriller, set in Mussoorie but focused on Tibet, the same qualities he brings to his other work: impeccable prose, and a deep knowledge of the region, its beautiful but dangerous peaks, its erratic weather, its flora and fauna.

Eunice de Souza, Mumbai Mirror

This is a book that is not just a spy thriller, but also a cultural essay and an astute observation on the human psyche. It is simply amazing how well-informed the author is — from the intelligence agencies across the world, the Tibetan uprising to the Tibetan religious rituals and Mandalas — the author offers you nuggets of information you want to read slowly and digest…

Imagine a mix of John Le Carre’s slow unspooling spy novels and the vivid time and place descriptions of Wilbur Smith. Add to this an in-depth knowledge of the Indo-China-Tibet issues, and what you get is a fine espionage thriller that gives a gripping account of the murky International politics… Alter brings to light the shadowy dealings of international espionage, weaving an interesting story around the sensitive Indo-China issues. Throw in a few Indian and American secret service agents, a right wing American vigilante who has sided with the Tibetan rebels, and you have a book that keeps you reading with twists and surprises.

Vani Mahesh, Deccan Herald

When it comes to writing, author Stephen Alter brings all five senses to the table… From the undercover operatives of R&AW to spies of CIA, Alter has weaved in many layers of truth in his storyline where, unlike American page turners, no organisation has been given a clean chit.

Anuj Kumar, The Hindu

The book maintains a frenetic pace till the end. Alter makes the story read like a screenplay for a Bollywood thriller, albeit a good one.

The Telegraph, Kolkata