John is the young Che Guevara-like leader of a Maoist revolutionary organisation, Red Earth, active in Kerala. When Johns friend and classmate, Abe, goes missing in police custody, John suspects he has been tortured to deatha regular feature of the dark days of the nineteen-month Emergency, which Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared in a fit of pure paranoia in June 1975, the year the story is set in. Unable to withstand the brute force of the state, Red Earth begins to disintegrate, but for John, the unlikely revolution he is working towards has already taken on the emotional intensity of a vendetta. Johns story parallels the heart-wrenching trauma of Sebastian, Abes elderly and self-effacing father. Sebastian too is aware of the possibility of his sons death but unlike the revolutionary leader, he cant make sense of his personal loss as the direct result of the predatory power politics he has little or nothing to do with. The fast-paced action of An Iron Harvest is divided between the rain-drenched jade jungles of Kerala and the deep winter of ruin-rich Delhi, Indias capital. The plot revolves in measured grooves around the characters of John, Sebastian, and the sadistic, sexually troubled deputy inspector general of police, Raman. Based on a real life incident, An Iron Harvest reveals the ugly face of the subcontinents politics and is bound to jolt you out of your complacence.
C.P. Surendran is one of the most important poets of India. No one in his generation has succeeded more in inventing a language, at once bare, bleak and burnished, for Indias own big city blues. His poems from Gemini II, Posthumous Poems and Canaries On The Moon (Yeti) have been widely anthologised. An Iron Harvest is CPs first novel. Besides his work as a poet and writer, CP is very well-known in India as a journalist and columnist.