Reviewed by Anusha Shrestha

The lead character Max Devlin who is trying to make a living in the trekking world in the Himalayas suddenly finds himself at the center of events. An ex-Gurkha officer, Devlin’s livelihood and business are detrained by a corrupt government. This forges him to accept a questionable proposal—leading a mysterious group of foreign academics into the remotest valleys of Nepal. Devlin is hired by a Thai professor for a trip to the Himalayas, but Devlin realizes, too late, that the expedition and its participants are not what they seem to be.

The team is restricted to a certain time period as Devlin and his Sherpas are to complete their mission before the first monsoon breaks and brings with it floods and landslides. But, tension arises, along with the difficulty of operating in the mammoth mountains and high altitudes, as Devlin realizes that his team is actually performing a covert operation. Things escalate to a sinister dimension when a young Sherpa disappears and is found dead the next morning, close to the camp. Devlin’s team undermines the assignment and rushes to complete their mission with the Chinese army in pursuit.

Devlin becomes the focus of a highly complicated scenario which has tentacles linking Nepal, India, and China. At the center of the expedition lies a shocking secret that will rock the spiritual and geographical foundations of the Himalayas. From the nightclubs of Calcutta to icy rock faces of the highest mountain passes, The Dharma Expedient is a breathtaking journey of excitement and adventure.

The story is well-written, but lengthy at times. Sarony is generous with descriptions and sometimes lingers too long over yak’s milk and the many forms of local dress. He has an admirable command of Gurkha-speak, peppering his text with “hajoor”s and “Colonel Shahib”s, but delaying the plot further by additionally lapsing into the lyrics of a folk song. However, he does have a commendable knowledge on weapons, highlighting his background of serving in the Gurkha Rifles. He also knows how to choreograph an action scene. This book is a gem in the field of action adventure centered in Nepal, as only few of them exist.

Neville Sarony served in the 7th Gurkha Rifles and spent two years in the Foreign Office. He read Law at LSE and was called to the English Bar before establishing the first foreign law practice in Nepal. He was called to Hong Kong Bar in 1986 after practicing at the Bar in London. He was chairman of a group of travel companies in Kathmandu between 1985 and 1998. He is well- known in Hong Kong legal circles as a lawyer specializing in medical negligence, personal injuries, and crime. He has a home in Xabia, Spain.