The Accidental Apprentice: A Novel

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In life you never get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.

A business empire worth ten billion dollars. This is the tantalizing offer made by Vinay Mohan Acharya, one of India's richest men, to Sapna Sinha, a simple salesgirl in an electronics store in downtown Delhi. She can be the next CEO of his incredibly huge and profitable company. There is only one catch―she needs to pass seven tests from the "textbook of life."

Thus begins the most challenging journey Sapna has ever undertaken, one that will take her from her swanky showroom to the heat and dust of India's backstreets and villages. Along the way she encounters a host of memorable personalities, from a vain Bollywood superstar to a kleptomaniac Gandhian. But are the seven tests real or is Acharya playing a game driven by a perverse fantasy?

Vikas Swarup, acclaimed author of Slumdog Millionaire and Six Suspects, has written a compelling, suspenseful tale about the lure of money and the power of dreams. The Accidental Apprentice is international crime fiction at its most entertaining.

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About the Author:

Vikas Swarup's first novel was made into the Oscar Award–winning film Slumdog Millionaire and has been translated into over forty languages. His second novel Six Suspects, a murder mystery, was translated into thirty languages and is being adapted into film. Swarup has written for TIME, Newsweek, The Guardian, The Telegraph, and The Financial Times. An Indian diplomat, Swarup has been posted to Turkey, the United State, Ethiopia, the UK, South Africa, and Japan. He currently lives in New Delhi, India.

From Booklist:

A chance encounter results in an unbelievable offer for 23-year-old Sapna Sinha. Billionaire industrialist Vinay Mohan Acharya approaches saleswoman Sapna, the family breadwinner since her father’s untimely death, as she leaves a temple in Delhi on her lunch hour, offering to make her CEO of his huge conglomerate if she can pass seven tests of character “from the textbook of life.” Facing a family financial crisis, a suspicious Sapna reluctantly accepts the offer and soon displays leadership, integrity, courage, foresight, resourcefulness, and decisiveness, according to Acharya, in seemingly random situations, ranging from preventing an arranged marriage to breaking up a sweatshop employing children to acting to save her sister’s dreams and her mother’s life. But things go awry in the course of the last, most difficult test, leaving Sapna facing the death penalty and confirming that people are not always what they seem. Slumdog Millionaire author Swarup is a skilled storyteller who doesn’t hesitate to take on some of the most troublesome issues of his native land—corruption, caste, color, tradition—as he also captures and celebrates its sights and sounds in this fast-moving mystery. --Michele Leber

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