Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Krishna Key

Author:         Ashwin Sanghi
Published    2012 
Publisher:    Westland
Paperback: 485 pages. 
I had read good reviews about Ashwin Sanghi's previous  novels - "The Rozabal Line" and "Chanakya's Chant" and was planning to read them soon. And then  last week  BlogAdda offered to send his latest book "The Krishna Key" for my review. I could not resist the temptation even though their expectation to submit a 500-word review is no less tougher than meeting a project deadline at work. Fortunately, I received the book on a Friday and I managed to start and finish reading this book over a weekend. It was a time well spent.

The plot is strikingly similar to Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code and the Lost Symbol. And we even have a Robert Langdon like main character in form of the historian Ravi Mohan Saini in this 460-odd page thriller.

While Dan Brown in his fictions explores the mysteries and secrets surrounding Jesus Christ and Biblical themes our  Desi Dan Brown, Ashwin Sanghvi, has chosen Lord Krishna and  Mahabharata for this book. But then it is always nice to read about things closer to home.

Here is the plot of the story.
The whereabouts of a jewel called Syamantaka Mani, which was once in custody of Lord Krishna is now shrouded in secrecy. Varshney a famous symbolist is the only person who has got clues to unravel this secret. Fearing a threat to his life he  distributes these clues among four persons whom he trusts most viz; - an archaeologist Dr. Nikhil Bhojaraj , a nuclear scientist Prof.Rajaram Kurkude, a genetics expert Devendra Chhedi and the historian Ravi Mohan Saini. There is a gang which is in wild pursuit of Syamantaka Mani, which is actually a philosopher's stone that turns iron into gold. Mataji an ex-school teacher and a key member of this gang has brainwashed her student Taarak into believing that he is the tenth reincarnation of Lord Vishnu i.e. the Kalki Avatar. In order to secure the clues she convinces Taarak  to eliminate Varshney, Bhojraj, Kurkude, Chedi and Saini. Tarak kills all of them except Saini, our hero who manages to survive. After many twists and turns , Saini manages to outwit Tarak and his gang and solve the mystery of Syamantaka Mani.

The plot  may seem rather run-of-the mill. But the highlights of the story are the theories, puzzles, clues and mysteries woven into it. And they are all pretty interesting though some of them are purely fictitious and outrageous. To mention just a few examples - Sumerian civilization being founded by people who migrated from Indus Valley; significance of the number 108 in Hindu philosophy; the design of modern nuclear power stations having a striking resemblance to Shiva linga; Mohd. Ghazni the Afghan invader who looted Somnath temple being a descendant of  Lord Krishna's clan - the Yadavas.

The book is profusely illustrated with pictures, maps and diagrams of clues and symbols to explain the details within the story. In fact, the author advises us in the beginning not to flip through the book prematurely since it may  result in unintended viewing of these pictures that could act as spoilers.

The writing style though not of great literary merit is racy, down-to-earth and kept me fully engaged throughout the weekend. And I am impressed by the research the author undertook to weave the mind-boggling clues within the story plot. He has provided an exhaustive list of 135 references to books, articles, blogs and You Tube audio/videos that he referred to while writing this book.

This book has served as an appetizer  for Ashwin Sanghvi's earlier novels which I plan to read soon.

All in all a very entertaining read for all mystery and thriller lovers !
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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