The three books that seek to redraw the path of arguably the most important legend in Indian mythology: I had always wondered what was so great about them and now I know.
Well, first let us get something clear – the books are not perfect. Far from it, actually. The language carries the burden of oversimplification and there are colloquial terms used in a period drama – a crime so heinous for some readers that it renders the book unreadable.
The flow is bumpy. The moment you start developing interest, the author switches to another sub-plot. And the technique is that of someone who doesn’t understand how writing works. There is a lot of tell and very little show. But the show is good because it is well-imagined. And that is where the beauty begins:
The series redraws the mythology of Shiva as a disputed leader of the worlds. I say worlds because the premise of the novel is based on the conflict of two worlds: one masculine and the other one feminine. The author tries hard to detach the gender roles from the sexes and sometimes the attempt is visible too clearly.
It all starts when a Tibetan warlord Shiva decides to take up the invitation of King Daksha and take refuge in Devagiri – the capital of Suryavanshis (representing the masculine forces). He later gets acquainted with the Chandravanshis (representing the feminine) from Swadeep. He unites all forces and discovers many secrets. Right is wrong, wrong is right. Most of the mystery is unveiled in Secret of The Nagas. The third installment is all about war preparations and gore and blood.
The series deserves a serious reading despite the way it is written. It deserves attention for all the imagination packed into its pages. The author has tried to take Shiva out of the history/ mythology pages and make him a living, breathing human.
The Neelkanth is a title that is bestowed unto those who fulfill certain criteria and it is anyone’s guess if Shiva wins that title due to chance or destiny.
The book is a treat for all mythology lovers and gives Indians a lot to talk about. The map of India of those times has a place for all the fictional places from stories – Pariha, Kailash, Ayodhya, Branga, Dandakaranya and many more.
Fantasy lover or not, the series is not to be missed.