Short review: Well researched book on Krishna and India, a tad too detailed, but definitely cannot be missed.
The author, Ashwin Sanghi, is doing a fab job of publicizing the book across all channels. I loved the book trailer, here it is
Ashwin has Masters degree from Yale University and is currently pursuing PhD in Creative Writing. Hence, I picked up the book for review.
The book is a little long one, 465 pages. It’s style in such a way that there are two stories going in parallel – one mahabharata and other the actual story of the book. I don’t read books based on history or mythology or religion, but the captivating trailer did the trick. The amount of research that has gone in to the making of this book deserves a big round of applause. Let’s start dissecting.
Trailer: Absolutely captivating, you saw that earlier.
Title: Hmmm, it could have been better. Doesn’t resonate completely with the book.
Cover design: Spot on, beautiful artwork from Gunjan Ahlawat. Perfect to the theme of the book. Haven’t seen such a lovely and apt cover design in the past.
Plot: Murder mystery colored with history and religion (Krishna). A trademark Dan Brown style. It’s a beautiful adaptation of ‘Da Vinci Code’.
Setting: Kalibangan in Rajastan to Dwarka and Somnath in Gujrat to Mount Kailash in Tibet to Vrindavan and Agra in UP, you can’t ask for a wider canvas and detailed description.
Characterization: Lovely strong characters Taarak Vakil, Priya, Ravi Mohan Saini (protagonist), et-al. However, the motives of the two main dark characters didn’t go well down my throat – lacked depth.
Story, structure and everything else: The story starts with a brutal murder of Historian Anil Varshey who was in possession of ancient artifacts that cost his life. The blame goes to his close friend and protagonist Ravi Mohan Saini, who is one of the most knowledgeable person when it comes to ‘History of India, Mahabharata or Krishna’. Without giving away too much, I would list down the things that irritated me before I talk about good points
- Every chapter has two parts. (a) story of Mahabharata and (b) the actual story of the book. Now, it was a good refresher on Mahabharata, at times I got enlightened, but it was completely unnecessary and at times irritating. I would have liked the story of Krishna weaved in to the thriller rather then just giving a reference at the start of every chapter.
- Loads of Sanskrit Shlokas, not sure if all of them have been explained in detailed.
- There’s no dialogue happening between the characters. In every scene, everyone is just giving Gyan on history.
- Almost every scene has two or more characters that are experts in history.
- I was not eased in to the book, first 100 pages were tough ones to navigate.
Lot of bashing, let’s talk about the good points.
It’s fast paced thriller (if you don’t read the Mahabharata paragraph at the start of every chapter), a delight to see how a dry history topic is converted in to fiction. Again the amount of research that has gone in to making of this book deserves 5 stars right away. This book will definitely be referred by history buffs in the future. He has a list of 130+ sources listed at the end of the book.
It’s lovely to see that Ashwin listed down the typos in the book on his website.
Out an out a good read if you want to know more about history / krishna / mahabharata / taj mahal / India or to see how much sweat and blood has gone in to the research in creating this book.
Rating 4 / 5.
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Want to read first 5 chapters? – click here