I grew up in Bombay and now live in London, and it often strikes me how the East is now the West, while the West is now the East.
In Bombay, the conversation with my family revolves around flipping apartments, investing in the share market, chasing the higher paying job offer…to make money. In London, my days are peppered with friends who opt out of the rat race in search of themselves. Many give up the ‘day job’, change careers, move to distant lands, all in search of finding inner peace.
I sometimes feel that Londoners are on a quest for self-realization, while Bombayites are hungry to dominate the world stage. I also tend to think of ‘Bombay’ and ‘London’ as concepts; ideas which have exchanged places in this new world.
Then, a year ago, the European refugee crisis, which has been growing since 2011, reached a critical stage. A massive influx of migrants led to thousands arriving in the refugee camp now called the Jungle, not far from London. Londoners marched against the government, demanding a better solution for the situation. Not only did people donate to help the migrants, but volunteers from around the UK turned up to help in the Jungle. Some never left. Around the same time, the Prime Minister of India held a town hall with Mark Zuckerburg from Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley.
The sense of the East and the West having exchanged places was strengthened in my head. I decided to flip the situation. What if successive economic recessions in the West, coupled with the tyranny of a totalitarian regime, drove Londoners to seek a new life in the East, with the most sought-after destination being Bombay? This was the starting point for Taken, my new story (and soon to be published on the Juggernaut app).
It’s 2039, and New Bombay, as the city is now called, is among the most prosperous places in the world. It’s also recovering from a tsunami that wiped away much of the city in 2014, restoring it back to its original seven islands. The metropolis has since been rebuilt and this time around, people want to do right by it.
In this New Bombay of the future, there is no pollution or overcrowding. Instead, there are virginal beaches, traffic rules and yes, even ID cards for its citizen. ID cards which keep out the unwanted, including migrants waiting for a chance to enter this ‘Shining Hope of the East.’
Yet, even in this new world, corruption and nepotism exist. As do hybrids. Half-wolf–half-human shifters — an unlikely fallout of the nuclear leaks from the tsunami which mutated the genes of some of its citizens. Hybrids who now prey on refugees camped on the outskirts of the city, waiting for their chance to get into this shining hope of the East.
It is against this setting that Jai Iyeroy and Ariana West’s love story is set.
A story set in the Many Lives universe
Will you walk away from everything you know to save the love of your life?
Aria West: I was meant to kill him but just one look from him felled me instead.
Jai Iyeroy: I cannot lose her again. This time I will do anything to keep her safe.
Three years ago, Jai let the only woman he ever loved, walk out of his life, but Aria’s back now. Except she is in danger. And this time Jai will do anything, even break his vow to protect his city, to keep her safe. A paranormal action-romance, featuring shifters, Taken is set in a near future where successive economic downturns in the West have resulted in refugees seeking shelter in the East. Taken is a standalone story in the Many Lives Series.
Laxmi Hariharan is a NY Times and USA Today Bestselling author of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Subscribe to her newsletter to get her best 3 novellas free.
To read more about the refugee crisis in Europe, click here