Book Jacket

 

rank 1774
word count 106090
date submitted 16.04.2010
date updated 19.08.2010
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Historical Ficti...
classification: moderate
complete

Blasphemy!

Azam Gill

Little Muthkar's life is in mortal danger, caught in Pakistan’s lethal combination of class and communal conflict, inequality, intolerance, fundamentalism and jihad.

 

This is the story of two ill fated lovers, trapped in the dangerous world of the fallout from the Afghan Jihad in Pakistan.

Louisa Skimmer is a lecturer in English literature. An urban, middle class daughter of a distinguished police officer, she studies at Lahore's most prestigious ladies' college.

Piaro Masih learns trade craft at his father's feet. He inherits his rural family's role as a bandit and smuggler in the Punjab's heartland.

Can their love survive in the conflict between Islam and Christianity, caste and social class, East and West, theocracy and secularism?

Testing their limits, considering the condition of women in Pakistani society and the excesses of orthodoxy and fundamentalism, events race to a tragic and blasphemous conclusion.

The only witness is a child who must be protected.



 
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tags

adventure, blasphemy, caste, class conflict, crime, crime brotherhood, fiction, historical, minority persecution, romance, thriller

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112 comments

 

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Al Pereira wrote 920 days ago

Very well written, with relevant and fascinating subject material to work with.

Thoroughly good read.

A. R. Pereira
Mesmerized

RichardBard wrote 977 days ago

Hi Azam!

Since you haven’t been to Authonomy for a while, I hope it’s okay that I’m sending this through your book comment:

I’d like to thank you for backing BRAINRUSH (a Thriller) last year. Because of you it hit the Authonomy Number-1 slot, attracted an agent, and landed a film option. Now that’s a brain-rush! The formal book launch is September 1st and the sequel will be released in December. None of this would have been possible without your help. So, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Sincerely,
Richard Bard, BRAINRUSH

PS. If you want a good laugh, check out the temporary book-trailer video on the BRAINRUSH website. It’s there as a placeholder for the upcoming professional video. The current one features children and it’s guaranteed to make you smile! And yes, the younger kid on the screen is really me. You can see the video at www.RichardBard.com. The link is also on my Authonomy profile page. While you’re there, check out the “Feel the Rush” promotion that will get you BRAINRUSH plus 2 FREE thrillers from the Kindle Top-20 PAID Bestseller list – yes, really!

Kaimaparamban wrote 1243 days ago

A well written and wonderful novel.

Joy J. Kaimaparamban
The Wildfire

Marija F.Sullivan wrote 1248 days ago

Intriguing, powerful, read. Many questions raised.
Best luck to you and your book, M
- Weekend Chimney Sweep or Happy New Year
- Sarajevo Walls of Fate

Tom Bye wrote 1265 days ago

HI azam Blasphmy'

great cultural and historical read which brings you into the heart of pakistan. making for a very interesting adventure for the reader, yes its different.and graps attention from the off.
backed and starred with pleasure
TOM BYE ' FROM HUGS TO KISSES'

AlexClay wrote 1271 days ago

Very strong opening. Sets the tone. Effective and believable dialogue. Genuinely holds the promise of being something very good.

child wrote 1281 days ago

Blasphemy - Sometimes, within just a few minutes, a reader knows they are onto a really good thing. Set in Pakistan, this is a shocking story about intolerance inherent in all social classes, castes and religions and the bravery of people, considered to be at the bottom of the pile, who have to endure the brunt of it on a daily basis.
Despite its subject matter, or perhaps because of it, this is a beguiling book. The characters speak with voices of their own that can only be attributed to the talent of the author. It would be unfair to say this situation would not have arisen if partition in 1947 had not come about - but it certainly didn't help, entrenching perhaps even deeper into the hearts of those affected by it the prejudices and resentments that are still prevalent.
This writer deserves to be published by a major publishing house.
Backed.

Child - Atramentus Speaks

Child - Atramentus Speaks

Stark Silvercoin wrote 1292 days ago

Blasphemy is a uniquely Pakistani fable that takes us into the heart of that country in vivid and sometimes shocking detail. If you like books that take you to new places that you’ve never experienced before, then Blasphemy will be your cup of tea. And the story is completely engaging as well. Blasphemy takes us into the lives of normal Pakistani people the way that The Kite Runner gave us a glimpse into Afghanistan. Author Azam Gill has a hit on his hands, and I know this is a book that agents will want to represent, publishers will want to print, and readers will want to read.

Frank Calcagno wrote 1302 days ago

Well written; very timely. Backed

PATRICK BARRETT wrote 1311 days ago

Absolutely absorbing. A window into cultures we only know from newspapers, well done. Pula Barrett (Cuthbert-how mean is my valley)

Tiffini Johnson wrote 1314 days ago

It's taken me longer to respond to this than usual because it is so good! Usually, I read the first three chapters (I have to set a limit; otherwise, I'd be reading Authonomy all night instead of writing!), then back or send the author a message as to why I didn't but, I didn't want to stop at the end of Chapter 3 here. So I've come back tonight and read through chapter 8. This is an excellent story. It's attention to detail ("mocassions were handstitched") makes the environment the characters are in seem real and vivid, which is hard to do. Your command over memorable phrases is impeccable ("We whispered and giggled, and finally slid to sleep"). The talent is evident (to be able to switch from third person to first and then from one perspective to another is indeed a talent). Yet, what drives this novel forward is the dialogue. It's real, it's believable and instead of being propelled by the prose, the story seems propelled by the dialogue itself, especially in certain pieces. The plot is timely and topical, without giving away the author's own political or religious preferences. I have no doubt this will go far, and am happy to support it!!! Backd, with lots of well-wishes.

Tiffini
The Character

PS: Thank you for your support of The Character!

chantellyb wrote 1319 days ago

Looks very interesting despite it being not the typical read for me. It appears to be well researched and carefully planned out. You have strong dialogue, great vocabulary and multi-dimensional characters. Nicely done!

Daniel Manning wrote 1323 days ago

Being Christian makes you bottom of the heap, in a country where the testimony of someone is worth more depending on caste and religious beliefs. Blasphemy is a real eye opener with regard the culture, a history lesson on the splitting up of India and Parkistan. The Hindu's and Sikhs fleeing to India, the Mulims to Parkistan, and genocide sitting somewhere in the middle, a frenzy of partition killing, for the property and belongings left behind.
After the partition, those who had adopted the christian faith must have felt completly abandoned, after years of British colonial rule. On a subject where western ignorance resides Blasphemy is very educational
Backed with pleasure
Daniel Manning
No Compatibility.

Lucy U. wrote 1324 days ago

Succinct characterisation in your first chapter. There’s an efficiency and confidence to your style. Your second chapter, then, gives us a distinctly different voice and an appealingly rich breadth of reference; I enjoyed that mixing of the familiar European with more foreign scents and colours. I’d like to see where this story goes.

Crowel wrote 1329 days ago

I really like what I've read so far. You are obviously and without a doubt one of the best writers on here. I know that you will go far with this.

Backed with admiration,

Lacey

ShaneShannon wrote 1330 days ago

I really liked the beginning. Where the two men are talking, but one is meant to sit silently, not speak. It shows intricate characterizations and how differences in rank determine how much you are worth as a human being. Just the army being the army. Chapter 2 was powerful about what you stated about the lusts of men and how they lash out at the poor girl, who did absolutely nothing wrong. It is a very strong picture of a very backwards way of thinking.

Anyway I loved the first two chapters and have no problem backing this book! :)

Peter Wild wrote 1331 days ago

Great to find somebody else who agrees that the most effective stage of writing by far is re-writing, and it shows here. A wonderful, old-fashioned adventure story, set in the real world, with believable characters, written by someone who's done their research and then a lot of re-writing. Refreshing - easily backed.
Peter Wild
Double Action

Linda Lou wrote 1332 days ago

BLASPHEMY-Azem Gill
hullo Azem, what a story. Some of us have no idea what goes on in those countries. It makes me fearful of what is going on in New York right now and reminds me of sleeper cells. Very good. Already shelved and backed.

Linda Lou Long
Southern dis-Comfort
http://www.authonomy.com/ViewBook.aspx?bookid=11421

Larry789 wrote 1334 days ago

Azem, most profound and well written,I read the first two chapters and was awed by the brilliant story telling and the splendid development of your characters, well done This book is so timely and must be published, I support this 100%. Also still reading, put it on my continue to read shelf.

Scott Toney wrote 1340 days ago

Azam,

From what I have read this is a well written novel and the premise behind it is something that is so important to get out there. I hope that your book goes far because I think that it can not only be a fantastic read but also that it can do good. Have a fantastic day! I have gladly BACKED you!

- Scott, The Ark of Humanity

Azam Gill wrote 1343 days ago

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for doing what I am not capable of. In a few short words, you’ve told me what was wrong with it: unconsciously, I was beating my own drum with adjectives, because I thought that was what I was supposed to do!

On top of it, you actually go ahead and offer me a finished draft!

Cor, this is called an early Christmas!

Any little changes you find in the new pitch would only be because I sincerely believe that a lot of writing is actually re-writing.

I owe you a debt of gratitude, which you can cash in through the Authonomy network or the contact e-mail on my page.

I shall raise a glass to you, and hope to clink it with you one day.

Most respectfully,

Azam Gill
“Blasphemy!”

Azam Gill wrote 1343 days ago

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you for doing what I am not capable of. In a few short words, you’ve told me what was wrong with it: unconsciously, I was beating my own drum with adjectives, because I thought that was what I was supposed to do!

On top of it, you actually go ahead and offer me a finished draft!

Cor, this is called an early Christmas!

Any little changes you find in the new pitch would only be because I sincerely believe that a lot of writing is actually re-writing.

I owe you a debt of gratitude, which you can cash in through the Authonomy network or the contact e-mail on my page.

I shall raise a glass to you, and hope to clink it with you one day.

Most respectfully,

Azam Gill
“Blasphemy!”

memphisgirl wrote 1343 days ago

This is a very important book. I wanted to read it immediately when I saw the subject matter dealt with the early days of the Gihad around the time of the Russian-Afghan war. Your writing is tight, dynamic, your dialogue sharp. The strong sense of place is made more rich with your inclusion of cultural norms, language, and customs of Islam and the vastly different countries of the Middle East. I'm moving through the whole book and can't believe I haven't found it before. On my shelf.

Memphisgirl
Ashes By Now

Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1343 days ago

Dear Azam,
Here is a suggestion for your short pitch:

"Little Muthkar's life is in mortal danger, caught in the world of anti-Soviet Afghan Jihad. A dangerous world of class and communal conflict, of inequality and intolerance."

Long pitch:

"This is the story of two ill fated lovers. Louisa Skimmer is an English literature lecturer. An urban, middle class daughter of a distinguished police officer, she studies at Lahore's most prestigious ladies' college.

Piaro Masih learns a trade craft at his father's feet. He inherits his rural family's role as a bandit and smuggler in the Punjab's heartland.

How can their love survive in this world at war between Islam and Christianity, East and West, theocracy and secularism? Testing their limits, considering the condition of women in Afghan society and the excesses of orthodoxy and fundamentalism, events race to a tragic and blasphemous conclusion. The only witness is a child who must be protected."

I don't know if you like it, Azam, but I took out most of your adjectives and descriptions of your own text. Such as, thrilling, thought provoking, satirical, etc. I think you should leave these opinions to your readers. It's better to stick to what your story is about, and let the readers decide if it's witty.

Please don't feel obligated in any way to use my suggestions. I won't be the least offended if you keep your pitches exactly as they are!

Take care,
Elizabeth

S.C. Thompson wrote 1343 days ago

Great first chapter. So intriguing and exotic . . . dangerous! Special Ops! I'm hooked . . . backed.
sc

Eveleen wrote 1343 days ago

Blasphemy
Backed with pleasure
Lenny Harry
(Like a dot on the horizon)

Azam Gill wrote 1344 days ago

Thank you, Murray Baily, for your comment.

I seem to have no synopsis skills, which is probably why it took so long for my previous two novels to get published.

The jolt from Louisa to Piaro will be eased by putting the appropriate headings: Louisa’s story, Piaro’s story, as soon as I can figure out how to edit my chapters without losing the backing!

The narration in third person is only in the Prologue, 710 words.

For the rest, it is two intersecting povs in first person, juxtaposing rural Punjabi idiom with the straight forward language of a lecturer educated in English. To the best of my knowledge, this has not yet been attempted by the considerable number of writers of South Asian origin in the West, South Asians, and writers of non South Asian stock writing about South Asia or setting their stories in South Asia.

Apart from the distinct though accessible ‘dialect’, “Blasphemy!” also contributes to revealing the anguish of a hitherto unwritten about minority community of South Asia to the compendium of fine works about Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Budhists and Parsees.

And commercially speaking, there is a large readership in this classification thanks to this distinguished group of writers. Whether my writing can measure up to their standards remains the million dollar question!


Azam Gill
“Blasphemy!”

Azam Gill wrote 1344 days ago

Thank you, Murray Baily, for your comment.

I seem to have no synopsis skills, which is probably why it took so long for my previous two novels to get published.

The jolt from Louisa to Piaro will be eased by putting the appropriate headings: Louisa’s story, Piaro’s story, as soon as I can figure out how to edit my chapters without losing the backing!

The narration in third person is only in the Prologue, 710 words.

For the rest, it is two intersecting povs in first person, juxtaposing rural Punjabi idiom with the straight forward language of a lecturer educated in English. To the best of my knowledge, this has not yet been attempted by the considerable number of writers of South Asian origin in the West, South Asians, and writers of non South Asian stock writing about South Asia or setting their stories in South Asia.

Apart from the distinct though accessible ‘dialect’, “Blasphemy!” also contributes to revealing the anguish of a hitherto unwritten about minority community of South Asia to the compendium of fine works about Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Budhists and Parsees.

And commercially speaking, there is a large readership in this classification thanks to this distinguished group of writers. Whether my writing can measure up to their standards remains the million dollar question!


Azam Gill
“Blasphemy!”

Azam Gill wrote 1344 days ago

I seem to have no synopsis skills, which is probably why it took so long for my previous two novels to get published.

The jolt from Louisa to Piaro will be eased by putting the appropriate headings: Louisa’s story, Piaro’s story, as soon as I can figure out how to edit my chapters without losing the backing!

The narration in third person is only in the Prologue, 710 words.

For the rest, it is two intersecting povs in first person, juxtaposing rural Punjabi idiom with the straight forward language of a lecturer educated in English. To the best of my knowledge, this has not yet been attempted by the considerable number of writers of South Asian origin in the West, South Asians, and writers of non South Asian stock writing about South Asia or setting their stories in South Asia.

Apart from the distinct though accessible ‘dialect’, “Blasphemy!” also contributes to revealing the anguish of a hitherto unwritten about minority community of South Asia to the compendium of fine works about Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Budhists and Parsees.

And commercially speaking, there is a large readership in this classification thanks to this distinguished group of writers. Whether my writing can measure up to their standards remains the million dollar question!


Azam Gill
“Blasphemy!”

Adam
This seems to be an amazing book. The synopsis didn't really grab me, but if it really covers all those issues, is a love story and a thriller, it is incredible. The prologue is intriguing - the Foreign Legion is bound to appeal to many. Great start. However I found the switch to Louisa in first person and then Pairo - again first person to be a jolt. I'm not convinced it works like this. My advice would be to do it in third person throughout. Mine was originally first person mixed with third and it was not only easy to change it all to third person, it actually made the POVs stronger.
On the positive side, the characterisation is excellent as is the setting - totally convincing. The style struck me more as Literary Fiction than a thriller and probably needs editing down to pick the pace up.
Not commercial at the moment imo, but there's loads of promise here.
Good luck
Murray (Suspicion)

homewriter wrote 1344 days ago

Azam, this is brilliant. You have crafted a wonderful story here and I admire you immensely for this towering achievement. You are only the second writer here for whom I use the word 'outstanding' for, sincerely, that is what it is. Best regards, Gordon

tiggertoo wrote 1344 days ago

Adam
This seems to be an amazing book. The synopsis didn't really grab me, but if it really covers all those issues, is a love story and a thriller, it is incredible. The prologue is intriguing - the Foreign Legion is bound to appeal to many. Great start. However I found the switch to Louisa in first person and then Pairo - again first person to be a jolt. I'm not convinced it works like this. My advice would be to do it in third person throughout. Mine was originally first person mixed with third and it was not only easy to change it all to third person, it actually made the POVs stronger.
On the positive side, the characterisation is excellent as is the setting - totally convincing. The style struck me more as Literary Fiction than a thriller and probably needs editing down to pick the pace up.
Not commercial at the moment imo, but there's loads of promise here.
Good luck
Murray (Suspicion)

Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1345 days ago

Dear Azam,
Your prologue is a marvel of tight, direct text that tells the story well with no diversion and no extraneous words. I think your pitch needs that same directness. Your cover is excellent. You have a great talent - just bring it to the pitch, too.

BACKED
Elizabeth Wolfe (MEMORIES OF GLORY)

Leigh Michaels wrote 1345 days ago

Not my usual reading choice, but you kept my attention anyway! Nice writing, good story, great characters. Shelved!

Bocri wrote 1346 days ago

14 August 2010
Rarely, virtually hardly ever nowadays, do I get that frisson or buzz of anticipation, when I start to read a book. When I do, the ensuing pages never fail to fulfil the promise and Blasphemy was not an exception. The confidence and assurance of the author of Blasphemy is evident in the prose, plot, pace and other literary elements in the creation. The ambiance of realism is not forced, didactic or pedantic -- it is credible due to the accuracy of detail and description. But waxing lyrical about the standard of this work is inane when the proof of its quality is available on its pages. BACKED. Robert Davidson. The Tuzla Run

JD Revene wrote 1346 days ago

Azam,

I've read three chapters and this is fascinating. The voice of each character is strong, the writing flows and along the way I learn.

I see from your profile that you've already been published and that shows in your work.

Backed with pleasure.

soonerbred wrote 1346 days ago

Azam, this is an intriguing and thought provoking work. It gives us a glimpse into a different world and a different world view, one we know about ,but one we do not really understand. You style is unique as you unveil your characters' worlds while you introduce them to us. The prologue leaves us hanging waiting to see how that fits in. This is well written, and while not an easy-flowing read, it has a deep beauty to it. Not commercial fiction, but certainly literary fiction..
Well done, indeed.

Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comments on the Smoke That Thunders.

Cheers Nate.

S.C. Thompson wrote 1346 days ago

Azam,
Incredibly engrossing, revelatory, enlightening . . . AND well written. Backed.
SC

Tari wrote 1347 days ago

This immediately intrigues. The tension of the interview rose with each paragaph whilst a certian amount of flashback rounded out the introduciton, grounding the characters and the story. . Expert writing.

I like the way you introduce the new threads of differing viewpoints. The second chapter in the first person contrasts and interests, drawing the reader into the intimacy of the Louisa's story, so that the reader becomes the confidant, which again creates a sense of union and empathy with the character.

Louisa's description of a young girl's life is powerful. Although we are aware of the burka, the way it is described along with her being forced to live in the hostel for moral reasons is enlightening and thought provoking.

I found the information and the story illuminating, absorbing and holding my attention. I will be keeping this on my Wl to read further.

The language is exemplary, and you have handled the local dialect so well. Giving only enough to enrich the character without confusing the reader with too much idiomatic content.

The pace is fat and the plot unfolds natgrually even with contrasitng viewpoints.

The descriptions are excellent and the use of metphor of the right balance, in fact a couple of the metaphors were brilliant, e.g. 'the cat in her stomach...'

I am also impressed with the way the interior dialogue and dialogue between characters drives the plot forward.

I wish you the best with this excellent book.

Backed with pleasure,

Kind regards,

Katy,
Phobic Dawn.



Margaret Anthony wrote 1350 days ago

I came across this by chance and what a pleasure that I did. I enjoyed the prologue so much I read it twice, just to make sure I hadn't missed anything!
Expertly interleaved, you reveal a topical issue which has been languishing for years, that of the complex problems of belief. Well written and intelligently told, it isn't difficult to become involved in the struggles confronting your characters.
I'm enjoying this and back it with pleasure. Margaret.

Eric Laing wrote 1351 days ago

Well written and intriguing. How the story of the mysterious young man seeking to join the Legion in the prologue ties into that of Louisa sets up a great hook propelling the story forward.

Your ear for dialogue is excellent and you've done a great job using that to reveal the complexities of your narrative.

All the best with this fine work.

Eric

JohnnyVee wrote 1354 days ago

Well, this is lovely. I like your enthusiastic pitch, and the prologue, and also the switch in narrative from third to first. I like the writing, too. It's fluid, and holds attention because it is waffle free. If I could offer one bit of advice, it would be to begin chapter 1 with what is currently the eighth paragraph..."I'm a single girl..." narrator will then be firmly established and the resultant tightly held viewpoint will make the narrative even more compelling. Only one opinion of course. Backed with pleasure.

CarolinaAl wrote 1355 days ago

The opening line in your Chapter One hooked me. This is a gripping journey filled with surprises. Fascinating characters with real emotions. Excellent dialogue and narrative. Backed.

Azam Gill wrote 1356 days ago

Hi

I dont know if any one else has noted or commented but you change person from the prolog to chapter one. The prolog is written third person and the rest of the chapters are written first person. I dont know if you did it on purpose but I actually found it a little confusing. Aside from that I read up to chapter two and flicked through a few others and your writing is very detailed and you write with great passion.

Best of luck on your journey

Andrew Monk



Thanks for your keen observation.
I did, indeed, do it on purpose, and I do hope it settles down during the reading and reveals its purpose at the end.
In any case, a change of font or italics …
Cheers
Azam Gill

Azam Gill wrote 1356 days ago

Hi

I dont know if any one else has noted or commented but you change person from the prolog to chapter one. The prolog is written third person and the rest of the chapters are written first person. I dont know if you did it on purpose but I actually found it a little confusing. Aside from that I read up to chapter two and flicked through a few others and your writing is very detailed and you write with great passion.

Thanks for your keen observation.
I did, indeed, do it on purpose, and I do hope it settles down during the reading and reveals its purpose at the end.
Cheers
Azam Gill
Best of luck on your journey

Andrew Monk

BundyMonks wrote 1357 days ago

Hi

I dont know if any one else has noted or commented but you change person from the prolog to chapter one. The prolog is written third person and the rest of the chapters are written first person. I dont know if you did it on purpose but I actually found it a little confusing. Aside from that I read up to chapter two and flicked through a few others and your writing is very detailed and you write with great passion.

Best of luck on your journey

Andrew Monk

BundyMonks wrote 1357 days ago

Hi

I dont know if any one else has noted or commented but you change person from the prolog to chapter one. The prolog is written third person and the rest of the chapters are written first person. I dont know if you did it on purpose but I actually found it a little confusing. Aside from that I read up to chapter two and flicked through a few others and your writing is very detailed and you write with great passion.

Best of luck on your journey

Andrew Monk

DMR wrote 1359 days ago

There is a hipness to the writing here which makes for compelling reading.. it feels truthful and allowed me to give the minds of a different culture.. the first few chapters are certainly strong and have piqued my interest enough to want to read more.. Like it ! Backed and best wishes
Diane
Good Blood

Elisabeth Silvers wrote 1363 days ago

I read the first two chapters and plan on reading some more when time permits. I've enjoyed reading so far, and am intrigued by the story and all it's details.

Elisabeth Silvers
Blood on the Rocks

DavidP wrote 1365 days ago

It's easy to get lost in this labyrinth of book after book. I appreciate very much your comments about my book, but more so for bringing me into yours. Your story, although I only read the first two chapters and browsed a few others, is an eye opener for us in America. There's so little we know about what's happening outside our borders, and you have an outstanding talent to display it with an intriguing storyline and pleasant narrative.

David Placeres
Sunless Shadows

Butler's Girl wrote 1366 days ago

A clever story, well written and full of intrigue and suspense.
Excellent.
Alison Butler

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