With sudden spate of mythology based fiction in Indian literary market, the reader is often perplexed about which one to pick from the wide range of options available. Although the Hindu mythology offers a lot of space for interpretation and re-telling, the re-telling is nothing more than an old wine in a new bottle. More often than not, the writing and the overall narration is mundane and adds nothing to the already existing literature.
However, Vadhan’s ‘Shatru’ is not another run-of-the-mill story; fast-paced thriller with elements of suspense, it makes for an entertaining read.
A part thriller, a part murder mystery, a part mythology and a part fantasy fiction, the action of the book unfolds in the present day Kalayuga, although its protagonist and the villain traverse time and yuga. The protagonist, Shatru or ‘Ajathshatru’, a half-asura is a hunter, who by a quirk of fate is anointed “to preserve law and order amongst the two most powerful Primordial Tribes, the Deva and Asura.” Beginning with the murder of a demi-god, Kausalya, the book envelops towards a larger conspiracy, towards the unravelling of a world where old border lines between the good and the evil are fast disappearing and devas and asuras are holding hands together for a merger, but with what goal? However, it is not the only mystery that befuddles Shatru and the reader; something sinister and evil is simmering in the deep, dark and ancient recesses of the earth; “an ancient sentinel of chaos” who, if unleashed can destroy the world as it is known. And Shatru is the only one who can stop it.
The mythical world of ‘Shatru’ is replete with asuras, devas, rakshasas, half-breeds, demi-gods, vampires and the other fantasy creatures who not only occupies the board rooms of the big conglomerates but also political, economic and cultural strings of the human world. In spite of the presence of these mythical creatures in the human world, they seem real and believable, like the existence of the platform nine-and-three quarters at King’s Cross in Harry Potter series. Although Vadhan is no Rowling, he excels in building a world inside a world where the natural and the supernatural co-exists which is no mean feat to achieve. During one of his interviews, the author said, “Reading books is like going to the movies. Unless the movie runs in your mind as you read, as a reader, you will not buy (sic) into the book. I like my readers to visualize my characters, their emotions, even their dress (sic) sense or the car they drive, what ticks them off, etc.”
With simple use of word-play and detailed descriptions, the author creates a layered world, where the book unfolds like a movie in the reader’s mind which is the biggest triumph of the author, as more often than naught the fantasy fiction fails to ignite the readers’ imagination.
With well chalked characters that do not remain stuck in one singular moment of time and grow with the unfolding of the narrative, engrossing story line with fast paced narrative,
the book makes for an interesting and gripping read, especially for those who are inclined towards fantasy and mythological thrillers.
Title: Shatru (Kronikles Book-1)
Publisher: Frog Books (an imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd)
Genre: Fiction/ Mythology
P.S.: A review copy of the book had been sent by the author in return of an honest and unbiased review