It’s unusual to read a taut historical crime fiction thriller that also interrogates the Imperial legacy. Mukherjee, never heavy-handed with his research, is wise to have chosen a protagonist who is more sympathetic to the 'native' side than most, but whose perspective is necessarily British — it allows you a view into both worlds, that of the Indian nationalist setting up bonfires of foreign cloth, and that of the Englishman seeing the inevitable unfold as the colonies slip from the grasp of Empire ... The flaws in Smoke and Ashes are minor. Those familiar with Indian history of that period will find Surendranath Banerjee’s name a little jarring ... But these do not detract from the many thrills of following Captain Sam Wyndham and Bannerjee through 1920s Calcutta.
In Wyndham and Bannerjee, Mukherjee has created two appealing characters presenting different factions of the whole that is India, revealing what each gives up to serve king and country, and answers the question of which country each actually serves ... An interesting story, with two remarkable characters, which will make the reader seek out the other novels in this series while asking for more.
Riveting ... Mukherjee has a substantive grasp of colonial Indian history, and his books have the feel of a modern-day and much more progressive Kipling, full of high intrigue and derring-do, yet overlaid with the day-to-day reality of a struggle with addiction.