?The foetus was suspended in a wide-mouthed dusty glass bottle with an aluminium seal. Neglected, vulnerable, ashamed. A dead human being. Stillborn.? Recovering in a Bangalore hospital from a road accident, Poorva Pandit, a journalist, overhears a bizarre story about a contraceptive vaccine research, unwanted pregnancies and a missing malformed foetus. In MR Hills near Bangalore, Anshul Hiremath, returned NRI and doctor, has set up a research center to test the efficacy of his new vaccine for contraception. But word soon leaks out that some of the tribal women on whom the vaccine was being tested, have become pregnant, and one of them has delivered a deformed stillborn baby. Even more strangely, the foetus disappears from the lab and turns up mysteriously at an NGO camp nearby. Following the trail for a story to break out of her ennui, Poorva begins to uncover a chain of incredible links. She realizes that Anshul is just one of the players in this international game where scientists and researchers are playing for incredibly high stakes and will stop at nothing to be the first to produce the ultimate contraceptive. Brilliantly researched, the story moves through Bangalore with its booming pharmaceutical industry, to the tribal settlements in MR Hills and, finally, to the rarefied world of medical research in New York. Drawing on the latest developments in the field of immuno-contraception as well as the imminent adherence of India to the GATT agreement and changing patent laws, Rohini Nilekani?s first novel is a nail-biting, unputdownable, racy thriller.
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