Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Shantaram":1,400 Sold and Counting

Several years ago I read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and this incredible tale continues to be one of my favorites. After selling a thousand paperbacks, it seems many customers agree.

The author wrote the story based on his real-life experiences escaping from an Australian prison and hiding in the slums of Bombay. He joins the Indian Mafia as a counterfeiter. Lastly, he’s gunrunning to Afghanistan to support their struggle against Russia. Shantaram is touted as fiction, but he had to be there to write such a detailed account of the prison, Standing Babas, fire racing through the slums, the wounds that forces him to become an unofficial medic, his criminal role in India, among another dozen stories. What is not in the book is what happened afterward. Roberts was captured, jailed, and returned to Australia to finish his prison sentence. This is when he wrote this amazing tome, not once but twice. His first copy had been confiscated.

Since the book was released in 2004, Warwick's has sold 250 hardbacks and the rest in paperback. Johnny Depp has wanted to make and star in a movie version and in the works is a sequel titled The Mountain Shadow, rumored to take place in part in the Kahneri caves near Mumbai. provides links to Roberts many accomplishments. He’s been to many cities, but is unable to be in the US to the US because he’s a felon. This is despite the fact that Shantaram means “man of God’s peace.”

All this is to say that Shantaram is a book you will want to read, if you haven’t, and will find it one of the most engrossing page-turners you’ve ever read.

I’d be interested in your comments about this, so please email me at

Jim is a bookseller at Warwick's.

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