The Secret of The Nagas - Book Review

12:42 PM Shanky 2 Comments


There are very few books that will make you feel one with the characters and emote you along with them. This is one of them. I really credit the author for doing this, especially considering that the characters in the book are considered gods in today's world. Hence to be able to connect to them in any way other than spiritual, fear or apathy is fascinating. To read about their anger, weaknesses, love and care for their family makes you feel like a god as well! This series by Amish, takes on the popular notion that gods might have once been brave and just kings whose legends might have given later generations an impression that they were immortal and invincible. They were gods.


In his first book of the trilogy, Shiva migrates from his birth place of Tibet into India where he is hailed as the Neelkanth - The destroyer of evil who will help India from its evident downfall. India at that time, according to the author, had three different and powerful sects. The suryavanshis - who live by the rules created by Lord Ram and consider that deviating from the rules were to commit a terrible sin. The Chandravanshis - who worship Lord Ram and take his rules as guidelines and hence give enough freedom for individuals to choose their way of life. The Nagas - The supposedly cursed humans who live a secluded and secret life from other humans in order to clean themselves of the sin from their earlier birth. Although everyone believed in the legend of the Neelkanth (Blue throat), the Suryavanshis were the ones who exert themselves in finding him and seeking his help. So, like many other historical leaders Shiva was led in to believing that the orderly Suryavanshis are the good people and leading them to victory against Chandravanshis was his destiny. The book ended with the Suryavanshis winning over the seemingly evil Chandravanshis. However Shiva realises that Chandravanshis are not evil, only different. Shiva is broken that he has led a war against these nice people and destroyed thier peace. Just then, the Nagas attack Shiva's wife, Sati and the book ended. 

I agonisingly waited for the second book because of the sheer brilliance of the first book and the nerve wrecking ending. In fact, I had mailed the author on his personal website asking when will the second book be out. I have never ever done this in my life, not only for a book, but for anything else. So when this book was out, I ordered it on Flipkart and devoured it in 5 days (I have a day job, miss my student days :( ).In this book, Shiva continues his journey towards fulfilling his duty as the Neelkanth - the destroyer of evil. Only this time, his real enemy are the Nagas. These cursed disfigured humans are commiting sins in this life as well. With accusations from both Suryavanshis and Chandravanshis and also due to the unfortunate turn of events lead Shiva into believing that Nagas are the evil ones. During this dangerous conquest, the secret of the Nagas is revealed to us in a manner befitting the gods! The emotions, change of heart, relationships portrayed in this book makes it a definite page turner. 

Along the way the book also gives you glimpses of courage, bravery, wisdom, trust, faith and commitment. Some of the events portrayed make up for leadership cases that will be interesting to say the least. But what is interesting about this book is that, I also realised what the leader is allowed to do. Sometimes, I think, we expect too much out of our leaders. Just because we trust them to be better than us does not mean they are not human beings. Even leaders have favorites, prejudices and flaws. But how well they manage to keep these distractions from clouding their judgement and hence their actions determine how great or fit a leader is. Shiva, the leader being portrayed in this book is also a human leader (not a god). So he has his favorite people, prejudice about men and practices and flaws in his skills. But he seldom allows these to cloud his judgement and hence more often than not he takes the right decisions and can clearly see where he wants to go. This makes it easier for his people to trust him and follow him because he is clear about what he is thinking. 

Some of the emotions are easy to extract from your reader. Probably sadness and romance are examples for easy emotions.But to make someone feel inspired and courageous is something not every character or author can do. Amish has done that so well with his portrayal of characters. The sudden surge of excitement and jolt you get when some of our present day gods are introduced through some historic or perfectly logical assumptions made by the author is absolutely delightful. These are flashes of brilliance that increases the confidence you have in the author and the thought process that has gone into making this book. However, like Shiva, Amish also has a few shortcomings. With some gap between the two books and so many characters, a glossary of characters could have helped a new reader or even few older ones. Again the ending in this book is also nerve wrecking, to an extent even abrupt. The ending could have been a little smoother given that the surprise of such an ending has been experienced in the older book already. 

To sum it up, whether you are a theist or an atheist, Shivaite or Vaishnavite, this book is a must read for the sheer joy and excitement that it packs in it. Finally, a worthy rival to all the western bestsellers that are US propaganda of how to save the world. Only this one is different than the others in a very Indian way, serving the Indian twist with a knock out punch. Go for it!

PS: The Shiva Trilogy is available as set of two books (released so far) in Flipkart

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2 comments:

  1. You might want to check out my thoughts on the book - http://wanderingmirages.wordpress.com/2011/11/25/book-review-the-secret-of-the-nagas/

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  2. I have read your review earlier dude. We both have taken two different views of the book. You are searching for literary finesses while I was looking at the way he built the characters :) and how leadership comes out of it. To me that was important because Shiva Trilogy is about portraying Shiva as a leader, a king and to dispel the perception of him being a god, being above us humans.

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