Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Book review: The Krishna Key

The Krishna Key
When I finished reading Chanakya's Chant I couldn't wait to pick up Ashwin Sanghi's next thriller "The Krishna Key". I quickly skimmed through few reviews to get an idea as to what the book had to offer me. And soon enough I excitedly finished reading this 450+ pages thriller/lecture.

Like Ashwin's trademark narrative style, the plot in Krishna Key also alternates between present and a bygone era which is Mahabharatha. A fanatic serial killer who believes himself to be the tenth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is pretty much responsible for many murders. The protagonist of the novel, Ravi Mohan Saini a history professor is unwillingly pulled into the center stage of the mystery when he is held responsible for his friend's murder. The dead friend has left behind 4 Indus valley civilization seals and the story revolves around finding all of those seals and deciphering their cryptic meanings. The reader is in for a ride through various historical and mythological secrets.

The book was much hyped and critics branded Ashwin as the "Dan Brown" of India, a rather well deserving one. The amount of research gone into the book is truly applaudable. When there is a dearth of Indian authors weaving stories around the vast expanse of Indian mythology, Ashwin Sanghi is a welcomed change. The historical revelations are pleasantly exciting and the scientific angle to mythology is above mediocre. Few spoilers from the novel:

  • Did ancient India knew nuclear technology?
  • What do you have to say about the uncanny similarity between apex of the Taj Mahal dome and the shape of hindu Kalash, mango leaves and the inverted lotus?
  • Was Indus valley civilization period any different from that of Mahabharata?
  • The analysis of shapes of OM, Swastik, the Islamic sacred number 786
  • Similarities between Zoroastrian gods and Hindu gods
While the rich load of amazing facts are the highlight of this novel, the plot and narration die a slow death of sloppiness. The hero (if you want to call him that) is shown true to his profession in that he lectures all the time. There are no conversations per se, but only a question and lecture format followed throughout the narration. The hero is a know-it-all Robert Langdon spoof and the other characters also seem to fall prey to this lecture-giving norm. The characters change their basic nature too soon without any genuine provocation to do so- sidekicks turn into villains, villain turns into a dumb student, metal hard hearts melt down into love deprived souls. God forbid there is also a love story popping out of nothingness at the end. Well to sum it up the author has tried too hard to present readers with awe inspiring research and has sidetracked what is important in a thriller - a good narration. 

I agree it seems surreal that a mafia don speaks of history with the authority of a scholar but this book has far better things to offer in terms of scientific interpretation of history. One has to bear the pain of a boggy narration to reap benefits of a classic Indian thriller. Hats off to the research done by Ashwin Sanghi. I prescribe this book to one and all.

P.S: My next read involves going through all the blogs, websites and books referred by Ashwin Sanghi for his work on Krishna Key.

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