Before I start my review, I think I should make a confession. Krishna Udayasankar, the brain behind Immortal, deserves my apology. Her book and talent was highly underestimated. (Not to mention the error in judgement about her gender. Trust me, names can be misleading.) It took me a while to notice about her being a bestselling author. I was introduced to this book by a shadow account on twitter by the handle viz. @Asvatthama. Casual interactions and leg pulling conversations led me to Krishna who then introduced me to Immortal. Being a bookworm, the premise of the plot made me inquisitive about the book. Also the plot revolving around Mahabharata’s one of the most wrongly hated character, Asva was like an icing on the cake to read this book.
Plot: Professor Bharadvaj is a historian-for-hire who likes to invite trouble and endanger his life. The only problem is… he cannot die. He is Asvatthama. He is immortal! Why? Arre, read Mahabharat, guys! He has been cursed to roam on the earth. Drinking whiskey and other alcoholic drinks, gun-totting are his favorite pastime. And when he has none of these things to do, he likes to visit on a nostalgic trip by going through the recesses of his memories that comprise of various generations witnessing historical events that altered history of the world, may it be The Great War of Kurukshetra, Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, the saga of Darius from Persia versus Spartans and Greece, the war between Christianity and Islam at Jerusalem, the times of Asoka, the freedom movement of India..
So, here is this dude! (When I address him as a dude, I literally mean it.) He is arrogant, filled with raw emotions, care-a-damn attitude and most importantly on a mission to kill himself (can’t term it as suicide.. read the book to know why) The premise of this book starts in Bolivia where he escapes from the captivity of a gangster/druglord. He returns to India and decides to end his life as Professor Bharadvaj. In spite of being cajoled by his friend Hari – a self proclaimed godman from Kashi, he doesn’t change his mind and looks set to drown in river Ganga until… his sidekick Manohar calls him and talks to him about a client Maya Jervois and a hunt for the mysterious object Vajra that possesesses alchemical powers and answers to immortality. Having changed his mind, the professor decides to help Ms. Jervois in search of Vajra.
Does the mystery of Vajra get solved? Of course it does. Does Asvatthama finally know the reason behind his immortality? Of course he does. How? Well… Krishna lets it all out in her book. The best way to know about it is by reading it.
My Take: Letting out the plot means spilling the beans of what can be touted as a promising book for readers interested in fiction laced with present day thriller and mythology. It would be unkind and unjust of me to reveal the intricate details of the book. It is not the start or the climax that gives the pleasure, it is the journey that makes it worthwhile. Krishna weaves the plot quite well without letting boredom enter the head. There’s no doubt that there are many books having similar genre and Indiana Jones kind of plot but it is the art of Krishna’s storytelling that compels the readers to finish it off at one go. She doesn’t join the league of Devdutts, Amishs, Ashwins and Kavitas. She creates a league of her own. The only other book better than this can be a sequel to it (if Krishna plans to write it). Till then, the readers (especially the Mahabharat fans) can indulge their time in this book. Happy reading!
Peace, Poetry and Power.