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February 5, 2013

Book Review - 115 : The Krishna Key



Author : Ashwin Sanghi
Publisher : Westland

Forty-five-year old professor Ravi Mohan Saini, who teaches the history of mythology at St. Stephen's College, is the unlikely sleuth who scouts on the trail of a "poor" little rich boy Taraak who believes he is Kalki. In Sanghi's theology tale, Kalki is a serial killer who embarks on his bloody journey with the murder of Anil Varshney, a young symbolist in Rajasthan. Varshney is Saini's oldest friend. And his murder at the beginning of the narrative - a la "The Da Vinci Code" - becomes the spur in Saini's life, turning him into a sort of Robert Langdon, the star of Dan Brown's cult classic - looking for clues to the gruesome death.

He must breathlessly dash from the submerged remains of Dwarka and the mysterious lingam of Somnath to the icy heights of Mount Kailash, in a quest to discover the cryptic location of Krishna’s most prized possession. From the sand-washed ruins of Kalibangan to a Vrindavan temple destroyed by Aurangzeb, Saini must also delve into antiquity to prevent a gross miscarriage of justice.

The pace of the novel is brisk and the cross over between the fact and the fiction is engrossing all through the narrative. Problem is, it goes on for too long. The real motive of the heist is buried under clatter of over-exacting details, over simplified descriptions and religious jargons that seems to progress ad nausea.  It had to be much shorter and less flabby to have better impact on the readers. The characters change loyalties at the drop of hat in turn hurting the genuineness of these characters.

The Bollywood-style flashbacks to the fabled stories of the Mahabharata at the beginning of every chapter are an unnecessary break to the story, which barely seems to flow at a steady pace in the first place. I understand that this is a story about Krishna and there are certain chapters where the similarities are obvious in terms of actions and characteristics, but still such kind of spoon feeding about the retelling of Mahabharata from the point of view of Krishna is quite unnecessary in a thriller genre novel. In the end, it just adds to the length of the book and something with which author could have done without.

I am going with 2.5/5 for Ashwin Sanghi's 'The Krishna Key'. It is a major let down by one of the promising authors of recent time. It is an exercise in excess which ultimately turns out to be just a mixture of fact and fiction without achieving much in terms of plot and working as a strong thriller. Read it only for some interesting religious connotations.

1 comment:

Storizen zenirotS said...

Amit,

I too had problems with snippets of mahabharata.

But I enjoyed a book.

Here's the video review we've created

Click here

cheers,
Mukesh