Book Review: The Krishna Key



The Krishna Key - Ashwin Sanghi

The Krishna Key is the latest in the genre started by Dan Brown, and which has now become a rage. This by itself is not a disparaging comment: Whodunits were started by Agatha Christie; Similarly, Historical Puzzle based thrillers were first presented by Dan Brown. What is disturbing, however, that while the story is quite different in some ways, there are clear cases where the story has been obviously inspired by the iconic Da Vinci Code. Is it a good book? Yes? Is it worth a buy? Yes. Is it best-in-class? Unfortunately, no...


THE CHARACTERS
  1. Ravi Mohan Saini: Easy-going, smart, intelligent and quick-witted professor of history
  2. Priya: 40, smart, doctoral student plus.... 
  3. Radhika Singh: Bull headed but honest police officer
  4. Sunil Garg: Head of the CBI... 
  5. Taarak Vakil: Serial Killer

THE PLOT

Raja Man Singh left 4 seals kept in a base plate, which together point to a secret that will point the way to Lord Krishna's best - kept secret. That is the simple premise of the book. The book is simply based on deciphering the various clues to figure out where the object pointed to by the Key is located. One researcher - Prof Varshney - who knows the secret is murdered; but he has taken precautions by sending 4 of his friends 4 parts of the key. First the Professor and then one by one, the friends start getting murdered
Professor Saini is one of the friends chosen for a key-part; he is suspected of having murdered Prof Varshney; from here starts his headlong rush to save himself both from the police as well as from the real murderer - all the while trying to peice together the near-indecipherable puzzle that has been left by Prof Varshney. He has only his doctoral student Priya and her criminal lawyer father for help... and his wits. He must find the 4 seals that form the key, the base-plate that holds the keys and decipher the reality of the Krishna Key. 


THE ANALYSIS

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? A professor, a female helper, a centuries - old puzzle to be solved, both the police and the crooks hunting the poor souls, a religion - based secret... it is the Da Vinci code all over again. At least at first sight. Even at second sight, the impression of Da Vinci Code cannot be forgotten. The similarities are far too many... let us say that this novel has been inspired by The Da Vinci Code. There are enough twists in the tale that keep it from becoming predictable, there are enough changes in the story that take it away from Da Vinci Code. Further, the base story, while being similar in some instances, has a different flow to it, is different in its nature as well as its thesis. There is no religion-challenging here: all is as it should be. It is slower than the Da Vinci Code, more contrived. 
Most importantly, it deals with a subject that we have heard about since we were born (at least the Hindu  Audience); so the interest is kindled automatically. The story does not move at a break-neck speed - but rather at a leisurely pace. The character development could have been better... the characters could have been more robust; there are instances where the stated behaviour jars. Luckily, this is only towards the end of the novel - and only in a few places. The story of the Mahabharata has been interspersed - in the signature style of Ashwin Sanghi - which has a twin effect: it breaks the flow of the story, refocuses your mind as well as  builds your impatience as you wonder how the story progresses. This enables a sort-of refresher of the old story, which is quite entertaining and interesting. However, in this novel, the flow of the story could decidedly have been much better handled - unlike in Chanakya's Chant. 
The book is all in all a quick read, is interesting and is well presented. The writing style is lucid and free from any pejoratives or curse-words, thankfully. I cannot say any more- positive or negative-  as it will reveal too much about the story. It is a good read for a journey, or on a leisurely afternoon. 
It is decidedly not his best work; it could have been much better. But what has been presented is nothing to sneeze at either. It is truly a delight to read, especially as it introduces you to delightful and strange aspects of our history that will send you scurrying to do a google search... in those parts, the book is elevated to a truly class book. It has been really very well researched and includes many a surprise for the uninitiated. It also has a series of references for you to cross-check. Can it be re-read? Yes, it can. Worth a buy...

Comments

  1. its a nice book.i read the da vinci also and krishna key also..i personally believe tht indian mythology is far more interesting and far more mysterious than western mysthology as depicted in DVC. i also loved the Shiva trilogy books....im thankful to both the authors to be able to present indian mythology in this form to the world....its a great effort.

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    1. It is a nice book... I believe I said as much in the review. But I dont regard it as his best, either!

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  2. I read it and to be honest - its a waste on all counts. Yes - clearly inspired by DVC, but the sad part is, the author had no clue on how to take the story forward in a way that would appeal and make it interesting.

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    1. I completely agree with you. Definitely not his best work. His mahabharata story was very jarring and was written shoddily and very summarily. The characters were amateurish and one dimensional. The writing was terrible and the plot twists did not shock me. Yes, I did keep reading and that I suppose is the only merit of the book.

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  3. The subject is interesting and close our hearts. Started as thriller. But ending, to me is damp squib. Somewhere he should have explained the motive of Tarak and his Mataji.

    The book has made us to believe that Mahabharat has indeed happened and Krishna was real

    Shirolkar

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  4. he had laid his hands on whichever dan brown books he can. Four scientists killed and branded.. Four pastors in Angels and Demons.. The way Mr. Cheddi dies is almost a big copy from Angels and Demons. Characterization is so weak.. Seriously, Radhika singh is supposed to be a commando but she walks meekly whenever the villains order her and getting hit by them.. Can be used for Good laugh.. Ghazni and Krishna in same blood line.. Noah's arc getting ready in India.. full of comedy boss

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    1. I agree with you on that. Even the ambigram part where Sir Khan becomes Krishna is too obvious. But I feel there is no strong reason for the killings of the scientists.At least the silver lining is he saved us by not inventing an Indian "ILLUMINATI" .

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    2. Didnt think of that... I'll re-read Angels and Demons now. Let me see for myself! And great observation about Radhika Singh.... quite correct, I missed that

      Vishal

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  5. I feel it to be a remake of "The Da Vinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" where the author had clearly exploited some sequences like the ambigrams and the rubber stamp the assassin uses. Clearly I don't find a motive behind the killings as the assassin and the antagonist are more interested in killing people rather than stealing what they want.

    I feel the book is not one of his great but the way in which he used the monuments of India and the mythology and reasoning it to the history of medieval times is commendable.

    The writer clearly kept in mind about the book in international market at the same time had been crisp in narrating the short summary of the Mahabharata asit would be a platitude to Indian readers who are well versed with the story of the Mahabharata.

    Overall I enjoyed reading the book.

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    1. I have already noted some points in your comment above... as regards this comment, again we agree. But I dont see how the international market is being targeted... could be elaborate?

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  6. An anagram enthusiast trying his hand on a historico-mythological fiction. Imagination running riot in Ashwin's mind...Anagrams peculiar only to the English language being relied upon to justify events that took place when none spoke the language. Too contrived. Police have got no better job to do than listen to idle rhetoric and keep solving anagram puzzles. Damn! Reminds me of my schooling read, Chariot of the Gods, a poor cousin though! Never could imagine that top brass in research laboratories could be wasting time over silly anagrams and overtly silly theories!

    He also doesn't seem to have got over the characters of the previous chant, a rouge muslim gangster with a meek lady follower!

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    Replies
    1. Sorry about the delay in responding...

      agree with your views. Not one of his best. I liked Chanakya's Chant the most...

      Delete
  7. An anagram enthusiast trying his hand on a historico-mythological fiction. Imagination running riot in Ashwin's mind...Anagrams peculiar only to the English language being relied upon to justify events that took place when none spoke the language. Too contrived. Police have got no better job to do than listen to idle rhetoric and keep solving anagram puzzles. Damn! Reminds me of my schooling read, Chariot of the Gods, a poor cousin though! Never could imagine that top brass in research laboratories could be wasting time over silly anagrams and overtly silly theories!

    He also doesn't seem to have got over the characters of the previous chant, a rouge muslim gangster with a meek lady follower!

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  8. An Anagram enthusiast trying a historical-mythological fiction! Anagrams peculiar only to the English language being relied upon to justify events that happened aeons ago when the language didn't exist! Police in the midst of murder cases having no better job to do than solving anagram puzzles purportedly steeped in the past...top brass of research institutions having no better job to do than solving anagram puzzles...too contrived...too silly arguments and hypotheses...I am reminded of my school reads like Chariots of the Gods..though this was much better read than Krishna Key.

    Ashwin also does not seem to get over his previous "chant" characters...a muslim gansgter and a meek female follower! Clearly running out of ideas!!

    The Plot initially seemed promising ....but was frittered away with silly assumptions and was finally lost!

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  9. It was so so so not the word inspired but copies from Da Vinci Code... atleast change the characters were similar. Also the plot was so so predictable that while reading it was so obvious what next will happen. Also many times few instances were forced. Also one important thing, if Sir Khan knew that the secret lies in other place why Priya and Tarak went to Mount Kailash? Just to show us the importance/mystic of that place???????
    Information were good but nothing new as everything is already there in Internet.
    HUGE DISAPPOINTED...
    Dear Writer please just get inspired dont copy style and concept from others....

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    1. Lets hope that his next book is more like Chanakya's Chant... this one was not his best, that seems to be sure in my opinion at least...

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  10. totally agree with the review that it provides a great insight in terms of our history and mythology!!! but, regarding the pace and the story - totally lame. and, then, the climax is a bit of Paulo Coehlo thrown in.

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    1. It is a history revision, almost. As regards the story... well, I have said enough above. Sorry for the delay in the response...

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  11. the summary is simple. the author tried to write a desi version of dan brown stories, took too much information and then tried to take the plot to a very high level, as a result came crashing down.
    a personal request, can anybody tell how the good guys came to know tarak's name?
    one more thing, the surnames and tarak's background is toooooo co-incidental.

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    1. I'll revert on your query after reading it again. Interesting question!

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  12. Vishal Sir,

    I loved the way you created clear parallel between Da-vinci code.
    Awesome review.

    Here's our humble effort to create a first of its kind Video review.

    Video review

    Do let us know, how it goes...

    cheers,
    Mukesh

    ReplyDelete

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