I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book purely on the strength of the fact it's in the fantasy masterworks series. What I got was an immediately intriguing and exciting mystery thriller set in Calcutta, India.
I was initially quite shocked by the opening paragraph that asserted that Calcutta deserved to be wiped of the face of the earth. I wondered if that might offend some people that know the place? However, it eventually becomes clear that these are the feelings (the book is in first person perspective) of the protagonist that are quite understandable when you see what he went through there.
This is a dark book on many levels. From the raw and unflinching descriptions of the common life in this large, poor and over populated city (set in the '70s) to the wanton and nihilistic philosophy and actions of the dark and secretive cult that worships the goddess Kali. This story is tragic in the extreme so don't expect to go away cheery at the end of it.
For me, it just fell short of being a masterpiece for reasons I can't too well articulate. Perhaps it was just a little too bleak, even for me. Great book though.