The first thing that struck my mind as I was leafing through this exquisitely researched Krishna omnibus is the incredulous transformational journey of Indian mythology. Translated and rewritten through time immemorial how the deafening roar of history has given away to folklore and mere misinterpretation of the Vedic culture.
The book “The Krishna Key” can aptly be crowned as a path-breaking historical novel when measured in terms of the research and the stunning historical facts of Krishna and the Mahabharata war. The author Ashwin Sanghi has done a tremendous job of putting together an anthology of awesome mythological explanations aligning them with modern science and coupled with historical facts. His work is commendable when you actually judge the author’s ability to correlate history-mythology-imagination. Interweaving all three of these aspects together he has retold the Krishna story in an entirely-never-heard before way.
The Story Line:
The structure of the story does deserve praise. The story telling was as innovative as the plot of the story. The story of Krishna and the Mahabharata war has been narrated in parallel to the actual murder mystery by the supposedly Kalki Avatar- the tenth and the final reincarnation of Vishnu. This parallelism gives the readers ample amount of breathing space to gradually understand and absorb the multitudes of facts that has been presented by the author. It also gives a memory refresh to the readers of the long forgotten intricate details of the Mahabharata which we all read so ardently as kids. Indian mythology has always fascinated me, and reading this book was an absolute treat. The Vedic explanations of the Big Bang theory of the universe, the creation and the destruction of Dwarka, Mount Kailash being an alchemist’s pyramid- a man made structure, the facts about the Taj Mahal and finally the fact that the Vedic civilization has been the root of all creation are too fascinating to absorb at one go. This book will surely make you turn to Google to verify a few facts yourselves – and don’t be surprised if they actually turn out to be true. Its awe inspiring, how the author managed to pull out strings from different civilizations and relate them exactly with rock solid logic and historical and scientific evidences. Honestly speaking, as I was nearing the end of the novel, I had predicted that either the Syamantak – the Philosopher’s stone described in the novel would be related to the modern day Kohinoor or the author would end up writing the climax on loose ends. But to my surprise, it was kept as an open ended story and left to the reader’s to interpret and I can’t agree more on the ending. It was just the perfect one –after all the philosopher is more important than the stone.
The Characterization- The Weak Link
However, the weak link of the book was the character sketches. Most of the primary characters in the book lack the believability from the reader’s perspective. Except for the historian Ravi Saini’s character, which I feel personifies the author to some extent as he has been the central character while narrating and unraveling various mythological mysteries, the rest of them lose their sheen as the story moves forward. Tarak Vakil starts pretty strongly, as a mysterious serial killer who believes that he is the Kalki Avatar doesn’t find his own voice in the entire span of the novel. “Mataji” portrayed by Saini’s doctoral student and inspector Radhika Singh too has lost their way once the novel progresses. I somehow feel that a more in depth characterization would have placed this work much higher up the ranks. Another deterrent I felt was the superficial description in some of the major parts of the book. For example the journey of the research team to Mount Kailash and the Somnath Temple in search of the Syamantak stone could have been handled better. A book of such historical work is supposed to be enjoyed and read slowly, absorbing every bit of the author’s description. I wouldn’t have mind to have a few extra pages of such a treasure trove of knowledge.
As more Indian authors foray into this untraded path it seems to have opened up a new genre of writing. Having read both Shiva Trilogy and Da Vinci Code, I can plainly say, it has surpassed the Shiva Trilogy on the complexity of the plot and storyline -and equaled the Da Vinci Code on the amount of research work done. The final verdict is that it is a must read book if you are an Indian mythology enthusiast or even remotely interested in. I can give it 4 out of 5. Thumbs Up!
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