The Valley of Masks by Tarun J. Tejpal

The Valley of Masks by Tarun J. Tejpal

Late at night, in a dingy apartment hidden in a side street of a nondescript foreign city, a man tries to write out his story before daybreak. He doesn't believe he'll live to see daylight, and he's driven to tell the world the story of his killers while there's still time.

Until he escaped, the man himself was one of those killers, known only as "X470." He was a Wafadar, one of a brotherhood of trained, ninja-like assassins indoctrinated with the task of protecting the commune, an anonymous collective hidden in a valley of the Himalayas—where all the inhabitants wear masks to heighten the perception of equality.

Among the Wafadar, every vestige of individualism has been effaced. Even to sing is to provoke violent punishment. They serve only perfection and equality—and Aum, their mystic progenitor. X470 has killed, too, attesting to his fealty. But now, he is a Dagadaar—a traitor—simply because he wanted to take his mask off.

The Valley of Masks
 is an Orwellian parable of "the tyranny of the idea ... when the idea becomes more important than the man."

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