Reviewed by Jennifer Jensen

First time novelist Duane Evans, recipient of the Intelligence Star for valor, delivers a fresh, new approach to the already established Spy genre with North from Calcutta. For readers new to this genre of writing, North from Calcutta may prove a difficult, and at times confusing, read. With just the right blend of romance, intrigue, vengeance, and heroism, Evans’ freshman debut will appeal to a wide audience.

North from Calcutta is the story of Tarek Durrani, a Pakistani Intelligence officer whose most recent mission requires him to acquire the blueprints of a famous dam from its renowned Muslim creator. Durrani gains the creator’s trust and respect as well as the blueprint, but matters become complicated when Durrani finds himself falling in love with the Hindu architect’s beautiful daughter, Sahar Advani. Tensions rise as Tarek uncovers a terrorist plot, which if successful, will ensure a war between Pakistan and India, and take the life of the only woman Tarek has ever loved.

Evans has created a very likable hero in Tarek Durrani. Throughout the novel, Tarek reevaluates his life, discovering that there is more available to him than just his career. Sahar Advani, who has struggled with love in her own life, awakens tenderness and passion within him as she learns to love again and he learns the true meaning of love. Although Tarek keeps his true identity concealed from Sahar and her father, readers will be rooting for the unlikely lovers to stay united.

Though the novel was overall an enjoyable read, those who do not typically read spy novels may not be accustomed to many of the acronyms Evans uses throughout the novel; Evans’ flaw as a CIA-agent-turned-novelist is taking for granted his past career and assuming that readers will easily understand the language that comes so naturally to him.

Despite its few shortcomings, Evans has a voice that demands to be heard. The conclusion of North from Calcutta is satisfying on its own, but could also pave the way for future adventures featuring Tarek Durrani.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.