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Reviews of Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor

Age of Vice

A Novel

by Deepti Kapoor

Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor X
Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2023, 560 pages

    Jan 2024, 560 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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About this Book

Book Summary

This is the age of vice, where money, pleasure, and power are everything, and the family ties that bind can also kill.

New Delhi, 3 a.m. A speeding Mercedes jumps the curb and in the blink of an eye, five people are dead. It's a rich man's car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold.

Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an epic, action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family -- loved by some, loathed by others, feared by all.

In the shadow of lavish estates, extravagant parties, predatory business deals and calculated political influence, three lives become dangerously intertwined: Ajay is the watchful servant, born into poverty, who rises through the family's ranks. Sunny is the playboy heir who dreams of outshining his father, whatever the cost. And Neda is the curious journalist caught between morality and desire. Against a sweeping plot fueled by loss, pleasure, greed, yearning, violence and revenge, will these characters' connections become a path to escape, or a trigger of further destruction?

Equal parts crime thriller and family saga, transporting readers from the dusty villages of Uttar Pradesh to the urban energy of New Delhi, Age of Vice is an intoxicating novel of gangsters and lovers, false friendships, forbidden romance, and the consequences of corruption. It is binge-worthy entertainment at its literary best.

New Delhi, 2004

Five pavement-dwellers lie dead at the side of Delhi's Inner Ring Road.

It sounds like the start of a sick joke.

If it is, no one told them.

They die where they slept.


Their bodies have been dragged ten meters by the speeding Mercedes that jumped the curb and cut them down.

It's February. Three a.m. Six degrees.

Fifteen million souls curl up in sleep.

A pale fog of sulfur lines the streets.

And one of the dead, Ragini, was eighteen years old. She was five months pregnant at the time. Her husband, Rajesh, twenty-three, was sleeping by her side. Both belly-up, tucked in with heavy shawls at the crown and feet, looking like corpses anyway save the telltale signs, the rucksack beneath the head, the sandals lined up neatly beside the arms.

A cruel twist of fate: this couple arrived in Delhi only yesterday. Taking refuge with Krishna, Iyaad, and Chotu, three migrant laborers from the same district in Uttar Pradesh. Each day these men woke before dawn to ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!
  1. An epic, action-packed, multicharacter drama, Age of Vice has been described as a family saga, a crime thriller, and even a twisted, forbidden romance. Its characters include crime bosses and servants, politicians and journalists, friends and lovers, and dysfunctional families; the plot offers violence and betrayal, as well as tenderness, heartache, and hope. How would you characterize it as a novel? If you were recommending it to a friend, what would you compare it to?
  2. At the center of the novel is the astonishingly wealthy, dangerously corrupt Wadia family, whose elaborate web lures and entraps multiple characters. Theirs is a world where money buys pleasure, power, and loyalty—but what that loyalty is expected to look like ...
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BookBrowse Review


Deepti Kapoor’s novel Age of Vice is a literary crime thriller set in northern India during the early years of the 21st century. Kapoor’s writing is extraordinary; I was especially impressed by her use of multiple styles, all of which are honed to perfection. Most of her prose is straightforward, but lyrical moments abound, and the last few chapters of the book read with the propulsion and pace of a screenplay, where scenes shift with kaleidoscopic rapidity as the action revs up...continued

Full Review (605 words)

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(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Media Reviews

Booklist (starred review)
Kapoor spins a dizzying ride. Weaving the backstories of Ajay, Neha, and Sunny together, Kapoor's frenetic and colorful novel highlights the new global pecking order…But as this gripping tale shows, even the weakest deserve one last gasp of dignity.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
In Kapoor's searing portrait of India at the turn of the 21st century, finely wrought characters go to great lengths to escape the bonds into which they were born...Kapoor's violent and bitter story is deeply addictive; this spellbinder would be easy to devour in one big gulp, but it's worth savoring...The author possesses a talent great enough to match the massive scope of her subject.

Kirkus Reviews
It doesn't take long for the reader to become invested in the Mario Puzo–esque drama of the Wadia family and their associates…A whole lot of fun.

Author Blurb Lee Child, New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series
Sensationally good — huge, epic, immersive and absorbing...certain to be a book of the year.

Author Blurb Marlon James, Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author of Moon Witch, Spider King
This book. This epic, crazy, shocking, mind-blowing, brutal, tender, heartbreaking book is one of the best I've read.

Author Blurb Rumaan Alam, National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author of Leave the World Behind
Age of Vice is a good old-fashioned gangster story, impossible to put down. It's a novel garlanded with Shakespearean flourishes—star-crossed lovers, secret identities, complicated conspiracies—exploring timeless questions of family, loyalty, and fate.

Reader Reviews


Age of Vice
Interesting gripping Indian gangster book. I couldn’t put the book down for 3/4 of it. The last quarter was too long with pointless descriptions. There is not much of an ending which was not satisfactory after 500 pages
K. Stevenson

I found the subject of this book disturbing almost from the beginning. To describe it as a boy joining a well to do family when he was sold to them against his will is not a proper representation of the story. Exploitation and human trafficking of ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

The Four Yugas

Kedareshwar Cave Temple at Harishchandragadin Ahmednagar district Deepti Kapoor’s novel Age of Vice takes its title from the Hindu term Kali Yuga. In Hindu scripture and mythology, humanity is destined to cycle repeatedly through four great eras, known as yugas. Opinions as to the length of a single cycle (Kalpa) vary greatly — from around four million to four billion years — suffice to say, essentially an immeasurably long time in human terms.

Each of the four yugas has a different character. The first of these, the Satya Yuga (the Age of Truth) is often described as humanity’s golden age, a period of "truth, virtue and righteousness." Also known as Krita Yuga, it’s considered the age of perfection, a time when all humankind lives in harmony with each other ...

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