LITTLE LANTERN, DEEP DARKNESS is truly a one-of-a-kind novel in which every word is a delight. Sit back, settle in, and bask in the glow of a master wordsmith.” – Karen Dionne, author of the international bestseller THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER
Book I: The Light of Dead Fires
Himalayan foothills, 1934
Smastrus Anand — a fourteen-year-old, fatherless boy — understands what it is to live with sorrow in his heart. His mother, Nina, is a debt-slave, and Smast has been forced to grow up on a steady diet of hunger and oppression.
Pintu, the ultra-privileged son of Nina’s employers, has always taken pleasure in abusing and bullying Smast. Life as Smast knows it changes forever one evening when he finally hits back at Pintu.
Smast’s unthinkable act rips open a Pandora’s box. Two things emerge from it: i.) a long-buried secret that devastates and strengthens Smast simultaneously, and ii.) the unwelcome attention of the enigmatic, ruthless woman responsible for destroying Smast’s parents’ lives before his birth.
This woman, Pintu’s mother, would stop at nothing to crush the remnants of hope still surviving somewhere deep in Nina’s shriveled heart — a hope that stems from and inheres in her only child.
Atmospheric, lyrical, and fast-paced, the first installment of Smast’s epic tale chronicles his metamorphosis from a punching-bag to a fledgling, imperfect fighter struggling for his inalienable right to live and love on his own terms.