Mumbai, Meet The Mob

A sprawling new novel, cinematic in its scope, explores life in the underworld of India

At 916 pages, Vikram Chandra's third novel, Sacred Games, is as much a lifestyle choice as a reading experience. Fortunately, Chandra delivers in an epic thriller about organized crime in India that is being compared to The Godfather. Chandra, 45, spent seven years working on the book. He was paid handsomely for his efforts--an advance of over $1 million. TIME's Andrea Sachs spoke with Chandra:

What made you take on this subject?

When I was growing up in Bombay [now Mumbai], of course crime existed, but you mostly saw and heard about it in the movies. If you were middle class...

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