A true story of bondage, escape, freedom, love, romance and war. This book is a literary masterpiece and once again puts the beloved city of Mumbai on the world map. An Australian - Gregory David Roberts alias Linbaba alias Shantaram lands up in Mumbai after escaping from a New Zealand jail. Once a heroin addict he had been serving a sentence in Australia on the charge of armed gang robberies. Fondly christened Linbaba by his dear friend Prabhakar, wanted by Interpol, Gregory David Roberts is swept into the underworld of Mumbai, which gives him refuge. The Leopold bar in Colaba is one of the central places in the story where Gregory first meets many of his Mumbai friends. Karla, Didier, Maurizio and Ulla are some of them. His friend Prabahaker takes him to his remote village in Maharashtra where Gregory is christened with the name of Shantaram. This long stay of six months makes him acquainted with life in an Indian village and he is struck by the simplicity and warmth of the people there. He becomes adept at expressing himself in Marathi the language of the state. On returning Gregory David Roberts sets up home in a slum where he finds some sense of belonging, love respect and friendship. He establishes a free medical clinic from his hut and wins the admiration and trust of the slum dwellers. Also discovering that life in a slum is also based on a system of intricate protocol of hierarchy, law and order in its own way.
His proficiency in Marathi make Mafia leaders take note of this. One of them befriends him and in him Gregory feels he has found a father. Life is a whirlwind of black marketeering, smuggling, forgery of passports, gold smuggling and gun running. The reader is also drawn into this storm and one looks at Mumbai with a new light after this book. To an innocent citizen it is an eye opener and makes one wonder that this friendly city can hold such dark secrets. It is also a story of the triumph of a human spirit searching for love.