Book Review : The Mahabharat Quest


THE MAHABHARAT QUEST : THE ALEXANDER SECRET
By Christopher C.  Doye


About the Author : 


Before he finally embarked on the journey of achieving his childhood dreams, Christopher pursued a career in the corporate world, graduating from St. Stephens College, Delhi with a degree in Economics and studying business management at IIM Calcutta. Over the course of his corporate career, he has worked with leading multinational organizations like Coats Viyella, Hilton Hotels, IBM and The Economist Group, before setting up Dynamic Results India, a strategic consultancy in India in partnership with Dynamic Results LLC which is based in the US.





THE PLOT

As the title itself hints, this is a book that is based on two totally unconnected historical events in India : The Mahabharat, and Alexander's invasion. The plot interleaves two parallel stories - that of ancient Greece, and the modern-day story running in parallel. In ancient Greece, events unfold rapidly, as Alexander first decides to go on a secret quest for something buried deep in the story of The Mahabharat; and subsequently, after his death, the events rapidly become an effort to conceal that secret...

In the Modern Day, two stories intertwine : an ancient papyrus is found by an American scientist; leading to his murder; a group of American Archeologists open an ancient tomb, only to be ambushed; only one survives, escapes and lives to fight another day. She is hunted ruthlessly for the secret contained withn the tomb; only problem is she herself hasnt any idea what the secret is! In a parallel story, a pharmaceutical lab accident in an American company reveals several dead bodies, and hints of clandestine research; the investigation into which is being conducted by the IB, with the collaboration of the US...this seemingly unrelated set of events, with no apparently logical connect, forms the base plot of the story... what is the connect? How are the connected? Read the book to find out!




THE ANALYSIS

First, let us get the negative out of the way; this is another of the books that is approximately in the Da Vinci Code style. This is not exactly a true negative; Dan Brown was the creator of that Genre - others are now giving depth and breadth to this new genre with their skill. The interleaving stories has also been tried by Ashwin Sanghi earlier - but then again, that is neither here not there. This is a narrative style and plot outline that has been used by this Author. Question is, is it a me-too, or does it have sufficient points of variance to enable a classification as an original work of writing? Yes, it does. The similarity stops right there; the story, plot, treatment, development are all independent, and interesting. 

The book is a fast-paced historical thriller; the story develops quite rapidly, fast and is yet easy to follow. This is important - since there are 3 plots you have to follow {most books of this style have 2} - the life threat on the archeologist; the pharmaceutical angle, and the ancient greek past. This has been done quite skillfully; it must have been difficult, with 3 plot-lines. Well done, Christopher! 

Character development could have been better; but here, the author has chosen to sacrifice detail for the sake of the pace of the story. This is an understandable choice, given the complexity of the plot layout. Having said that, a little more filling in would have elevated this book to another level entirely. As it currently stands, the level of detail is enough to take the story forward at speed without any distractions.

The  book is a fast, engrossing thriller that keeps you glued to its pages. It has been written by an Indian - so there are no bloopers or ludicrous cultural pronouncements, unlike western books concerning India, which are frankly outlandish to say the least. This is a book that provides you with an entertaining read; is fast & engrossing. It is an enjoyable, rapid read that can easily be rated 4 stars, or even 4.5 stars out of 5...



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