Book Review - The Conspiracy at Meru by Shatrujeet Nath - Godyears

Book Review - The Conspiracy at Meru by Shatrujeet Nath

October 26, 2016

Book : The Conspiracy at Meru 
Author : Shatrujeet Nath
Pages :388
Publishers : Jaico
Formats available: Paperback / E-book


Two books of the Vikramaditya Veergatha - Guardians of the Halahala and the Conspiracy at Meru


Last year, I started my review of author Shatrujeet Nath's 'The Guardians of the Halahala' with these words - "The Guardians of the Halahal is unlike any book you have read in the Indian historical fiction genre till date. The beginning of a trilogy, it effortlessly combines religion, legend, history and even one of the most iconic characters from our fables, bringing a unique perspective to their story." 

The Conspiracy at Meru picks up where the first book ends.
The deadly Halahala weapon - created from the same poisonous Halahala that Lord Shiva had swallowed during the churning of the Ocean of Milk - still lies with its guardian Vikramaditya, a mortal chosen by the Lord himself. The battle between humans, Devas & Asuras has left Vikramaditya's kingdom weakened and vulnerable. And both Indra (The Lord of the Devas) and Shukracharya (The High Priest of the Asuras) are not done yet in their quest to get the deadly weapon from the Guardians of the Halahala.
Chandragupta Vikramaditya and his nine ministers, the gems of his court, are going to find that fending off the devas and asuras is a lot harder this time, especially as certain events in the kingdoms of Magadha and Heheya sidetrack them.

What Stands out in this book.

The Blend of Genres

This is not a religious discourse or narration. This story is predominantly a thriller that carries you across kingdoms and between characters, both divine and fallen. There is scope even for a subtle romance between King Vikramaditya and Vishaka without it feeling forced or out-of-place in the narrative.

Attention to detail

Is there not a risk of it getting too difficult to remember all the names and places, you ask?
Good question... which is why you will be happy to know that there is a detailed map, an index of all characters (subdivided based on their origins - humans, devas, asuras) and a glossary too for the Indian terms.

The Pace

It's a stick of dynamite. You watch the lit fuse begin slowly. As it begins to curve around the wire, you feel your adrenaline rise as the pieces start to fall into place and then? Boom! War becomes an inevitability.

Characterisation

Just like in the first book of this series, the characters cannot be easily labeled as black or white, even when we are talking about Devas and Asuras. I love that. It makes them - for want of a better word - more human and thus relatable. And if the Gods are like this, need we say more about the mere mortals within the story?

The Storyline

This cannot be an easy task, fleshing out a storyline as complex as this while painting multiple characters and new worlds within the context of the mythology available to us. Shatrujeet Nath does it better than any other author in Indian literature today for me and I mean that.
There is a brilliant twist at the end awaiting the reader as well, a hallmark of this author, I must say.

Language and Editing

If you are a regular reader of Indian fiction, you know why this point is mentioned here. So often, we compromise with the grammar and editing in Indian literature today, cringing yet allowing spelling mistakes and glaring errors. The three books I have read from the author have been consistently brilliant with regard to attention to detail and fluency of language. It makes for a pleasurable experience when you are immersed in a good narrative. Trust me. 


Rating:

In 2013, I reviewed the author's debut book 'The Karachi Deception' and gave it 4 out of 5 Appletinis. I loved it and was a tad disappointed to see him move away from the spy thriller genre since I thought he did a superb job at it.

In 2015, I reviewed 'The Guardians of the Halahala' and gave it a maximum score of 5 out of  5 Appletinis because I thought it showed pure talent to hop across to a difficult genre and nail it perfectly on the first attempt.

Now, in 2016, I am happy to say that 'The Conspiracy at Meru' is also a definite 5 out of 5 Appletinis. It is as good as the first book and once more marries mythology with thrilling action and even some of the deceptive 'who can you trust' narratives that we saw in the Karachi Deception.


This is a series that is begging to be made into a movie trilogy. It is Game of Thrones meets Lord of the Rings meets Hindu lore. And yet, I would beg the author to hold back should an offer arise, simply because I have little faith in an Indian film industry either attaining the graphics needed or maintaining the integrity of this brilliant storyline and all its twists without succumbing to ideological demands to keep the good 'good' and the bad 'bad'. 

There is no doubt in my mind that Shatrujeet Nath is one of the most underrated authors in Indian fiction today. Anybody who has this much talent and can hop across genres so easily, blending them so naturally deserves respect. 
Like the others, I too look forward to the conclusion of this trilogy. 

  • You can purchase 'The Conspiracy at Meru' from Amazon here, available both in paperback and kindle versions. 
  • The first book of the series 'The Guardians of the Halahala' is also available here on Amazon.
  • His first book, 'The Karachi Deception' is a spy vs spy Indo-Pak thriller that I recommend as well. You can get it here.
  • You can find and connect with author Shatrujeet Nath on Goodreads here.

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6 comments

  1. 5 out 5 is definitely a score that tempts me to pick it up and read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Get the first part. Start from there. :)

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  2. I really like your reviewing style. I love mythological fictions, and this being a thriller as well, it makes me want to order it right away, but I'll check out the prequel first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, glad you liked it. I struggle not to put spoilers in while reviewing :)
      Definitely get the first part.. start from there.

      Delete
  3. Let me find this series on my visit to India ...I am impressed by the storyline. It's very rare you get to read a gripping novel with characters from our mythology. Loved your review

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree... many have been trying their hand at alternate takes of mythology but this series stands out for the above mentioned details...

      Delete

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