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Agora Books

The 86th Village

The 86th Village

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"A moving debut."--Criminal Element
One of the "Most Anticipated Crime Fiction of 2022" by CrimeReads
One of the "Most Anticipated Mysteries and Thrillers of 2022" by Criminal Element


Throughout Southern India, eighty-six villages are set to completely submerge due to a government-sanctioned dam across the Krishna river. One such village, Nilgi, has so far avoided the illegal iron-ore mining and floods that have ravaged the district for decades, believing itself to be indestructible and incorruptible despite warnings of impending doom. With whole mountains disappearing from the mining around Nilgi over time, the threat of a flood submerging the entire village is imminent.

One night, Reshma, a young orphan girl, appears alone in the village. The villagers take her to Raj Nayak--the patriarch of Nilgi's leading family who has been spearheading anti-dam movements. For years he's been lobbying the corrupt government for fair compensation to the people who will lose their livelihoods and property to the mines and the flood. But Reshma's presence, and the mystery of her origins, sets off a chain of events threatening the protests, the family, and Nilgi itself. Soon, secrets and corruption flood the village along with the waters.

Author: Sena Desai Gopal
Publisher: Agora Books
Published: 04/12/2022
Pages: 261
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.75lbs
Size: 8.40h x 5.40w x 0.80d
ISBN: 9781951709747

Review Citation(s):
Booklist 03/15/2022 pg. 46
Library Journal 04/02/2022 pg. 1

About the Author
Sena Desai Gopal is a journalist specializing in science and medicine, food, and travel. She was born and raised in India and now lives in Boston with her husband and two children. Her work has been published in The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, Modern Farmer, and The Times of India, among others. She holds master's degrees in Environmental Science from India, Tropical Agricultural and Environmental Science from England, and Science and Medical Journalism from the United States. Sena herself is from a small village in southern India, doomed to submerge in the backwaters of one of India's biggest dam projects - The Upper Krishna Project. Her family has lived in the village for 18 generations and she grew up on stories of its residents and a fair dose of dam politics. Her father was one of the people who fought for and forced the government to fairly compensate the people who will lose their livelihoods and property because of the dam. Sena can be found at and on Twitter at @senadesaigopal

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