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"A rip-roaring and gripping financial thriller which races the reader through the halls of the Mumbai and New York Stock exchanges and into the villages of Andhra Pradesh in an entertaining manner...A must read for everyone..."
where angels prey ebook

No. of pages : 204 pp.
Print Book International Edition ISBN :
9789384439378 Buy Now

Print Book Indian Edition ISBN :
9789384439347 Buy Now

eBook ISBN :
9789384439361 Buy Now

While the rest of the world reels under a severe financial crisis , India's microfinance sector enjoys an unprecedented boom. Why on earth are people investing such huge amounts of money in an obscure industry, especially at the time of global recession? And why is Wall Street suddenly so interested in India's poor?

That is exactly what Robert Bradlee, senior correspondent with The New York Post, sets off to investigate, along with his journalist friend, Chandresh. Little does he know that his search for a scoop would lead him through a complex multipronged web of deceit, fraud, manipulation and financial crime, remote controlled from distant lands by an entire chain of financial sector stakeholders.

Gripping, racy and meticulously researched, this financial thriller weaves in and out of the affluent world of high powered boardrooms and the gruelling poverty of the remotest villages of India, to reveal the devastating truths that often lurk behind "good intentions".

"I have enjoyed reading the book, "Where Angels Prey". The language and the style adopted are smooth flowing, making it comfortable to read. The suspense created is so gripping that I finished reading it in one go! I am particularly impressed with the meticulous care displayed in presenting the details of the complex world of micro finance in India, its sleaze, its nexus with the political economy of the State and the way the official system works. Though it is fiction, it is highly realistic and revealing. Congratulations for coming out with such an educative novel!"

E A S Sarma,I.A.S (1965) Retired, Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Government of India (1999-00), New Delhi

"Wow, what an amazing, engaging, honest, searing tale! I absolutely adored this book. I started to read it and I was hooked. I could not put it down until I reached the end. A completely believable and mind boggling eyeopener of a tale of greed, corruption and altruism and its effect on the desperately poor. Beautifully written, with not one word out of place, it gives a very clear and scary picture of what could and does go wrong in India today. An amazing book which will stay with me,"

Renita D'Silva, Author of ‘Monsoon Memories’, ‘The Forgotten Daughter’ and ‘The Stolen Girl’

"Where Angels Prey is an engaging and touching story of the collision of altruism and aspiration. Its narration of how the Indian rural poor suffer from this collision, in the context of the spectacular growth and equally spectacular crisis of the Andhra Pradesh microfinance industry, shocks and moves. I found it a most enjoyable, but also most disturbing, read!"

Matthew Gamser, CEO, SME Finance Forum, International Finance Corporation, Washington DC, USA

"Where Angels Prey - What a wonderful read! I loved the book and most especially the philosophical puzzle of how it ends. This MUST READ rip-roaring piece of fiction races the reader through the halls of the Mumbai and New York Stock exchanges and into the villages of Andhra Pradesh. Where Angels Prey exposes the worst of what can happen when commercial interests and desperation collide: a train wreck tragic in every way. At the heart of the story, as two journalists work unstoppably to interpret a rain of motives, they uncover why and how the angels prey."

Kim Wilson, Faculty, The Fletcher School, Tufts University

"During the very spectacular implosion of microfinance in Andhra Pradesh in 2010, Ramesh Arunachalam was merciless in his analysis. Combining field trips, secondary research and his experience in the rural development space, he stripped bare the malaise in the sector. It is excellent that he has now parsed all that know how into this racy entertaining novel."

M Rajshekhar, Senior Journalist, Scroll.in and former Senior Assistant Editor (Rural India, Environment), The Economic Times

"The author has taken certain well-recognised features of India's microfinance industry. He has then blended it with such creative licence as a writer is entitled to, to weave a compelling narrative that leaves the reader guessing where fact ends and fiction begins"

D. Sampathkumar, Editorial Consultant- The Hindu Business Line

Download Sample Chapter

Prologue

Where Angels Prey Chapter One

Is the man ever going to stop ?
    Renuka surreptitiously looks out of the window in an attempt to distract herself from the unintelligible drone of the rather distinguished looking speaker at the head of the room. Her English vocabulary is rather basic, a grand total of four words that include bank, loan, meeting and thanks. A fact that the speaker is either unaware of or is possibly indifferent to. The sights on the road below seem more interesting if only in their contrast to the rarefied atmosphere of the room.

Chapter 3

Where Angels Prey Chapter One

If purchasing power is any indicator of economic health, then the crowds thronging Manhattan's Fifth Avenue certainly do not indicate a limping global economy. It is the world's most expensive retail address and looks every bit its worth.
    Bob and Priya amble along the street, lulled by the balmy weather and the heavy meal they have just consumed. Unlike her shopaholic friends, Priya loves to stroll around in one of the numerous parks or spend time pottering around any of the various museums, whenever she has time off.

Chapter 14

Where Angels Prey Chapter One

The colonial-style bungalow in Lutyen's Delhi basks in the benign warmth of an autumn sun. It is that time of the year when the weather Gods are at their kindest towards the city's denizens. The pleasant nip in the air allows the society ladies to wrap themselves in Kanjeevaram silks and Pashmina shawls while the men strut around in nattily cut bandhgalas and Nehru jackets.
    The flurry of flunkies and the red beacon cars outside the bungalow indicate that it belongs to someone in the higher echelons of government. The allotment of the bungalow had,

Testimonials

The endorsements expressed about this book are strictly opinions of the individuals concerned. They are not the views of the organizations/institutions that these individuals represent and/or positions that these individuals hold.

Prof Malcolm HarperEmeritus Professor of Enterprise Development, Cranfield School of Management, UK. He has published widely on self-employment, enterprise development, microfinance and livelihoods. Professor Harper was chairman of Basix Finance in India for 10 years, and is chairman of M-CRIL, an international microfinance and social rating company. He was the founding editor of the journal Small Enterprise Development (now Enterprise Development and Microfinance, published by Practical Action)

Every popular phenomenon needs a good novel, and microfinance has now got Ramesh Arunachalam’s “Where angels prey”. Microfinance has attracted more than it’s share of academic evaluations, manuals, critiques, panegyrics and so on, which are generally heavy stuff, but this book is very different, and in many ways much better. It is fun to read, even something of a ‘page turner’ and it illustrates both the financier’s and the client’s sides of the industry. I know all too well that most students dislike and when possible ignore official ‘reading lists’, but I shall now include “Where angels prey”. My students will enjoy it, and they will learn a great deal from it which they would not have learned from reading the work of more traditional observers such as myself and all too many others

A VaidyanathanFormer Director, RBI and Former Professor Emeritus, MIDS

“‘When angels prey’ is a riveting, difficult -to- put down book. Though fictional, it also mirrors the real story of the phenomenal and unregulated expansion, decline and resurrection of private corporates in the micro finance sector; the disastrous impact of their aggressive and unscrupulous tactics on the lives of innumerable poor borrowers, and the complex web of social and political linkages between promoters, financiers and powerful segments of local and national political elite that shaped the "corrective' reforms”

Tim Kelley Founder of ForexTV

"Where Angels Prey is a compelling and disturbing story of greed and exploitation on a massive scale. ... Striking an uncanny balance of story-telling and factual relevance, Where Angels Prey uncovers predatory exploitation on such a massive scale, it is dizzying at times. ... A modern day version of Buck’s The Good Earth, Where Angels Prey is a haunting reminder of the dark side of money and capitalism (Book Review)"

Prof. U R Rao (Former Chairman, Space Commission & Secretary, Department of Space) Chairman, PRL Council, ISRO-DOS.Chairman, Karnataka Science & Technology Academy

"Where Angles Prey is extremely interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book, particularly because I was personally involved in the investigation of MFIs as a member of the RBI Board Team (Reserve Bank of India) which was constituted by the Reserve Bank of India, the report of which was submitted to RBI in 2011"

Ajay Tankha Economist and Development Consultant, New Delhi, India, Author State of the Sector Report 2013, Sage Publications

"Finished reading Where Angels Prey and it fulfils all expectations. Reads like a thriller. Obviously a well-researched novel but also written in good style and in excellent English. Ramesh, you seem to have discovered another talent. Enjoy the success"

Mr John Samuel Raja Co-Founder of How India Lives and former senior journalist, The Economic Times, Outlook Business, Business Standard and Mint

"Where Angels Prey is an innovative and easily understandable fictional account of what went wrong with Microfinance sector in Andhra Pradesh. Just as the growth was spectacular, the collapse of micro finance institutions too was equally dramatic. This fictional account on top of actual events gives great insights on what went wrong, a perspective that is hard to cover in news reports and non-fiction books"

E A S Sarma I.A.S (1965) Retired, Former Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Government of India (1999-00), New Delhi

"I have enjoyed reading the book, "Where Angels Prey". The language and the style adopted are smooth flowing, making it comfortable to read. The suspense created is so gripping that I finished reading it in one go! I am particularly impressed with the meticulous care displayed in presenting the details of the complex world of micro finance in India, its sleaze, its nexus with the political economy of the State and the way the official system works. Though it is fiction, it is highly realistic and revealing. Congratulations for coming out with such an educative novel!"

D. Sampathkumar Editorial Consultant - The Hindu Business Line

"The author has taken certain well-recognised features of India's microfinance industry. He has then blended it with such creative licence as a writer is entitled to, to weave a compelling narrative that leaves the reader guessing where fact ends and fiction begins"

Renita D'Silva,Author of ‘Monsoon Memories’, ‘The Forgotten Daughter’ and ‘The Stolen Girl’

"Wow, what an amazing, engaging, honest, searing tale! I absolutely adored this book. I started to read it and I was hooked. I could not put it down until I reached the end. A completely believable and mind boggling eyeopener of a tale of greed, corruption and altruism and its effect on the desperately poor. Beautifully written, with not one word out of place, it gives a very clear and scary picture of what could and does go wrong in India today. An amazing book which will stay with me,"

Matthew Gamser, CEO, SME Finance Forum, International Finance Corporation, Washington DC, USA
Matthew Gamser, CEO, SME Finance Forum, International Finance Corporation, Washington DC, USA

"Where Angels Prey is an engaging and touching story of the collision of altruism and aspiration. Its narration of how the Indian rural poor suffer from this collision, in the context of the spectacular growth and equally spectacular crisis of the Andhra Pradesh microfinance industry, shocks and moves. I found it a most enjoyable, but also most disturbing, read!"

M Rajshekhar, Senior Journalist, Scroll.in and former Senior Assistant Editor (Rural India, Environment), The Economic Times

"During the very spectacular implosion of microfinance in Andhra Pradesh in 2010, Ramesh Arunachalam was merciless in his analysis. Combining field trips, secondary research and his experience in the rural development space, he stripped bare the malaise in the sector. It is excellent that he has now parsed all that know how into this racy entertaining novel."

Madhusudhan Lagisetty, Assistant Vice President, Tata AIG Life Insurance Co Ltd
Madhusudhan Lagisetty, Assistant Vice President, Tata AIG Life Insurance Co Ltd

"This novel is a brilliant piece of work from a person who has seen at close quarters the microfinance industry's rise and fall in Andhra Pradesh. The plot, fit for a movie, is beautifully woven into all the happenings that have plagued the sector. It makes for such a compelling read that it can't be put down even once!"

Al Fernandez, Chairman NABFINS Ltd and Padmashree Awardee 2000
Al Fernandez, Chairman NABFINS Ltd and Padmashree Awardee 2000

"Money is trust encrypted; the story of how it can be used to destroy trust in the name of the poor is vividly portrayed in this highly entertaining book…the title says it all."

Jami Solli, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Legal Aid (GALA), USA
Jami Solli, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Legal Aid (GALA), USA

"Where Angels Prey is art imitating life ... a great read the first and the second time around."

Prof M S Sriram, formerly Professor at IIM (Ahmedabad) and currently Visiting Professor at IIM (Bangalore)
Prof M S Sriram, formerly Professor at IIM (Ahmedabad) and currently Visiting Professor at IIM (Bangalore)

"Really enjoyed the novel Where Angels Prey.... Its unique plot and fast pace make it a very entertaining and smooth read."

V Ramamurthy, I.A.S. (Retd), 1959 Batch
V Ramamurthy, I.A.S. (Retd), 1959 Batch

"Where Angels Prey is wonderfully written and captivating. I thought I'd read a chapter, but the narrative was so gripping I went through the whole book at one stretch."

Joy Deshmukh-Ranadive, Global Head, Corporate Social Responsibility, Tata Consultancy Services
Joy Deshmukh-Ranadive, Global Head, Corporate Social Responsibility, Tata Consultancy Services

"Where Angels Prey pulls and absorbs you into its plot and holds you there from start to finish."

Anshuman Jha, Actor
Anshuman Jha, Actor

"A Brilliant Read—Where Angels Prey blurs the line between fiction and truth. From a man who understands money as well as anyone I know, this book paints the two worlds that wrestle in India in the 21st century. Descriptive, taut, with well-etchedout characters, and most importantly entertaining. This book is crying out to be made into a film!"

Moutushi Sengupta, Director–India, MacArthur Foundation
Moutushi Sengupta, Director–India, MacArthur Foundation

"Riveting…. Designed to be the ideal solution to meet the financial needs of the poor, somewhere the microfinance sector decided to change course to be in the commercial, profit-making zone, placing millions of lives at the risk of failure and complete bankruptcy. Many sector leaders became the same demons, if not worse, that they swore to slay. The book beautifully highlights the interconnectedness of issues and actors, helping the reader analyse the situation on the ground and questioning many of the so-called 'accepted' truths. Congratulations to Ramesh for having successfully converted his long-standing experience with the sector into a gripping narrative that will have readers asking for much more."

Anand Bhaskar, Musician
Anand Bhaskar, Musician

"From rural Andhra Pradesh to the shiny lobbies of Wall Street, this financial thriller is a must read for everybody. Don't worry if you're not familiar with microfinance because Ramesh Arunachalam breaks down the concepts and the scams associated with microfinance in this entertaining saga. This book boasts of Arunachalam's sheer brilliance as a writer and as a financial expert. Smooth, fast and nail-biting! I wonder when the movie is going to be out!"

G R Swaminathan, Assistant Solicitor General of India
G R Swaminathan, Assistant Solicitor General of India

"Fantastic storyline, but startlingly realistic; written racily, yet in impeccable English. Interweaving fact and fiction, this novel is a creative and compelling read."

S Sivakumar, Architect, ITC e-Choupal
S Sivakumar, Architect, ITC e-Choupal

"No one doubted the power of microfinance in pulling millions out of poverty. But, a spate of suicides by the borrowers in 2010 raised more questions than answers. For an inside story of what happened and why, you don't need to go farther than this brilliant yet entertaining novel, which is so hard to put down. Ramesh's idea to write the microfinance story as fiction is ingenious. The intrigue behind the rise and fall of the sector could be brought out no holds barred. It's a must read. Like one of the characters in the book said, 'We owe it to them—to each of those fifty plus people who have been robbed of their lives, and to the hundreds of thousands of others whose trust has been violated'."

Milford J. B. Bateman PhD, Freelance consultant on local economic development, Visiting Professor of Economics, Juraj Dobrila at Pula University, Croatia and Adjunct Professor of
                                                 Development Studies, St Marys University, Halifax, Canada
Milford J. B. Bateman PhD, Freelance consultant on local economic development, Visiting Professor of Economics, Juraj Dobrila at Pula University, Croatia and Adjunct Professor of Development Studies, St Marys University, Halifax, Canada

"Where Angels Prey is really an excellent read! This graphic exploration of the once universally-lauded microfinance industry is bang on target. It works not just as a great read but as something to make you think a little deeper along the way. Written with flair, verve and a superb eye for detail—which is not surprising as Arunachalam is India's leading microfinance analyst—this gripping novel is a trip into the darker side of the poverty industry as it rampages and careens through the lives of the poor under cover of actually helping them. I look forward to the film in due course—it will be India's very own 'Wall Street'!"

Kim Wilson Faculty, The Fletcher School, Tufts University

"Where Angels Prey - What a wonderful read! I loved the book and most especially the philosophical puzzle of how it ends. This MUST READ rip-roaring piece of fiction races the reader through the halls of the Mumbai and New York Stock exchanges and into the villages of Andhra Pradesh. Where Angels Prey exposes the worst of what can happen when commercial interests and desperation collide: a train wreck tragic in every way. At the heart of the story, as two journalists work unstoppably to interpret a rain of motives, they uncover why and how the angels prey."

R. Vijaykumar PhD, IAS (1978), Secretary, Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DONER), Govt of India, New Delhi

"I read Where Angels Prey by Ramesh Arunachalam in one sitting. A tightly and well written plot. Yes, it's true the poor lead doomed lives. There is an occasional break, a sliver of dawn but that proves elusive though not enough for a few determined reporters to find a story. Will their efforts end and end well or is there a sequel. Only time and Ramesh can tell if the crooks take it all"

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About The Author

Ramesh S Arunachalam - Author of Where Angels Prey

Ramesh S Arunachalam wears many hats. He is an Industrial Engineer from the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Trichy, India (1984/5) and an MBA (with Dual Concentration, Strategy and Marketing) from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA, (1988). In the last 25 years, he has been a columnist with the Hindu Business Line (1995-97) and Moneylife (2011-2013), a filmmaker (2001-Present), an entrepreneur (1989-Present), a development practitioner (1989-2014) and strategic advisor (1995-Present). He has worked in a wide range of areas including financial sector regulation and supervision, financial inclusion, microfinance, livelihoods and MSMEs, Gender and microfinance, ERP systems for microfinance and infrastructure finance, urban development, infrastructure financing, GIS for urban planning and e Governance.

Along with his colleagues, Ramesh, through Shruthikkaa Films, has showcased several avant-garde films including the National Award Winning Kutty (2001), which is a film on domestic child labour. More importantly, Ramesh and his colleagues have taken these films to the masses to ensure wider audience appeal and outreach. Kutty (2001) was also an official selection to the Indian panorama (2001). It won two national awards, the Gollapudi national award (which is an award cherished even by Mr Aamir Khan ) and an international award (at the Cairo International Children's Film Festival 2002). Shruthikkaa's second film, Kanavu Meipada Vendum (Dreams Must Come True) also received significant critical acclaim because it presented the issue of trafficking and gender through an entertaining feature film format. Shruthikkaa's most recent work, Yeh Hai Bakrapur, a seriously light film, had a successful all India and global premiere in 2014 to great reviews. It was especially well recognized for its very innovative marketing - using the Kaun Banega PM mobile game (with over 42000 downloads) created by IdeaFarms and other eclectic strategies - in taking feature films to the masses. Yeh Hai Bakrapur (YHB) was part of the selection at MAMI (The Mumbai International Film Festival 2013) and the Goteberg International Film Festival, Sweden 2014 (whose programming director called it one of the best political parodies in recent times). YHB is to be featured as part of the New York India Film Festival in 2015. Shruthikkaa is currently engaged in the filming of an entertaining Tamil feature (Aazhi which means 'The Ocean') on Fisher folk and their livelihoods.

During the last 25 years, Ramesh has completed over 240 professional assignments. He has worked in 546 districts of India and has also travelled and worked extensively in over 25 countries in Asia, Africa, North America, Europe and the Caribbean across diverse projects (in senior positions). He is passionate about his work and brings strong inter-disciplinary insight to his assignments. His clients include governments (Governments of India, St Lucia, Singapore, Malawi, Uganda, Philippines, Afghanistan etc, several State Governments in India and many GoI Institutions like NCRPB, SIDBI, NABARD etc), bi-lateral agencies (DFID, USAID, DANIDA, NORAD, SIDA etc), multi-lateral agencies (UNDP, World Bank, ADB, IFAD, The Commonwealth Secretariat etc), regulators, commercial banks, investment banks, microfinance institutions, private sector firms and several other stakeholders globally. He has authored numerous reports/studies/papers as part of his assignments, several of which have been published internationally and received global recognition. His blog on microfinance has been well received and he has also penned two books - The Journey of Indian Microfinance and An Idea Which Went Wrong: Commercial Microfinance in India – both of which, have received critical acclaim. His latest work is an entertaining crime thriller novel – Where Angels Prey – slated for release in April 2015 through AuthorsUpFront.