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Harbhajan S Sandhu

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Literary Fiction

Publisher:  PublishAmerica ISBN-10:  160814067 Type: 


Copyright:  Jan 5, 2009 ISBN-13:  9781608134069

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Face of Darkness chronicles experiences of an Indian illegal immigrant, Paul Dev, who travels an underground route through Lahore, Kabul, Samarkand, Krakow, and Amsterdam, finally reaching his cherished destination, England, where he is brutally murdered in a racially motivated killing. Having never left his village, he is struck by the newness, and liberality of foreign lands along the way. His anxiety, nervousness, and overwhelming uncertainty of illegal venture is soothed by many encounters with exotic females of unfamiliar lands. He experiences life-changing vision of Yama, the god of death, when he is left floating in a wine barrel in a clandestine crossing through frigid waters of the English Channel.

Answering the call to adventure from his poet’s heart, young Paul Dev traverses Eurasia’s vastness, from India to England—the golden land of his dreams. Embracing the exotic and sublime, Face of Darkness is an engaging tale of underground migration, probing reflection, and Karmic destiny.

India’s mighty hold on Dev—as witnessed in a series of remembrances of caste restrictions, Partition’s terrors, pubescent intrigues, enticing nymphs, deflowered ascetics, and brutal criminality—yields to a glut of sensual indulgences as East meets West. With the threat of capture driving Dev’s fear of not attaining his goal, he reluctantly abandons lusty liaisons in Lahore, Samarkand, Krakow, and Amsterdam.

During a poignantly transcendent search for his “inner Elysium,” while doomed and adrift in a sealed cask in the frigid English Channel, Dev ultimately embraces Death to survive.  Cruel Fate, however, sees his promising life extinguished by the hand of bigotry at journey’s end.


Born and raised in a northwestern Indian village, the author pursued advanced graduate studies in America, earning a doctorate in physics. After decades of university life, this promising author of Wayward Brahmin continues to write from his southern California home, travel, and read widely.

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Reader Reviews for "Face of Darkness"

Reviewed by C. McGovern-Bowen 2/18/2009
Fellow AuthorsDen novelist, Harbhajan Singh Sandhu is back with another powerful novel, "Face of Darkness." Revisiting the immigration theme of his earlier work, "Wayward Brahmin," Sandhu explores the grand Eurasian underground route between India and England, while taking readers on a journey of a lifetime through the full-bodied escapades and poignant homeland remembrances of one young Paul Dev. In quest of adventure, Dev embraces his chance to fling wide-open the door to the exotic West. The strain of his journey as an illegal immigrant is eased by fond remembrances of his village home, a string of lusty liasions stretching from Lahore to Coventry, as well as the vast beauty of the strange new lands he encounters. In sharp contrast are his blunt recollections of the stunning violence of India's infamous Partition, the pitilessness of the Hindu Caste system, and the terrors of communal strife. In order to ride the tiger of his changing world, Dev, poetically reflective by nature, is forced to grow fast. It is, however, the hold of his Indian beliefs that sustains him during his greatest test when smugglers set him adrift in a sealed cask in the icy waters of the English Channel. In some of the most luminous writing on the issue of man's mortality, Sandhu applies an unblinking eye to our inevitable dance with Death, herein, Lord Yama. Dev survives this harrowing event by ultimately accepting his fate with grace, and the inevitable release of The Self from one's mortal frame that follows. In a poignant expression of Sandhu's taste for life's ultimate irony, Dev later dies at the cruel hand of racial bigotry--but only after he so skillfully runs the gauntlet of his Karmic destiny. Brilliantly engaging in countless ways, this book is a truly exceptional read.

Well done, Harbhajan! You have raised the bar here at The Den!


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