Friday, December 18, 2015

The Mahabharata Quest: The Alexander Secret review

I had received The Mahabharata Quest: The Alexander by Christopher C. Doyle, as part of Blogadda’s review program but was unable to review at that time, and being forgetful (by nature) forgot about it till now. Anyway, being a firm believer in the ‘better late than never’ philosophy, here’s the review as promised! (My most sincere apologies to the Blogadda team for the extreme lateness in posting this review!)

Just to add, this is the second part of a series, after The Mahabharata Secret, and even if one hasn’t read the first part, it’s easy to start on this book directly without missing much, as the plot of the sequel has little to no dependency on its prequel. 

So, to begin with here’s the book cover summary:

334 B.C.
Image Courtesy: Christopher C Doyle

Alexander the Great begins his conquest of the Persian Empire. But his plans for everlasting glory do not end there and the young king marches towards the Ends of the Earth - the lands of the Indus - on a secret quest. It will lead him to an ancient secret concealed in the myths of the Mahabharata; a secret that is powerful enough to transform him into a god.
Present Day
In Greece, the ancient tomb of a queen is discovered, a tomb that has been an enigma for over 2000 years.In New Delhi, the Intelligence Bureau discovers unexplained corpses in a hidden lab. Vijay Singh and his friends, now members of an elite task force, are sucked into a struggle with a powerful and ruthless enemy. In a deadly race against time, they will need to solve a riddle from antiquity that will lead them to encounter shocking secrets from the past; secrets that will reveal mystifying links between ancient history, the Mahabharata and the ancient enemy with diabolical plans for a future that will hold the world to ransom.
The Quest has just begun.

To begin this review however, lemme first explain the most important challenging part of writing a Historical-Thriller fiction, apart from actually writing it I guess, is maintaining the balance between the two genres, with sufficient research for the historical genre to retain its merit and an adequate pace, action and mystery in the plot to classify the book as a thriller. Being a lover of this genre, I feel that so far this has only been achieved by Dan Brown for most of his books and Ashwin Sanghi for Chanakya's Chant (mostly!).

For Mahabharata Quest: The Alexander Secret, Christopher Doyle has done a decent enough research I think, something which can also be visualised through the voice of the archaeologists when they contemplate their findings. Although I do feel a little uncertain about the historical segment of the book, especially the depiction of Alexander. In my limited knowledge of Alexander III, commonly known as Alexander the Great, I was under the impression that he is a really good Commander-in-Chief with a tactical mind, however here he’s shown a little uncouth, rude and offensive to even his own men, I hope that I am the only one with this confusion, for the sake of the author at least. 

As far as the thriller qualities are concerned, the mystery seems to be rather easy, taking away any punch that might be anticipated or it might be just that I have read more than my fair share of thrillers. 

Furthermore, the storyline also manages to explain the supernatural in a logical and scientific manner, a quality which I have come to love in this genre of historical thrillers.

And in its initial phase, it even created a hope to mark itself apart and not become another ‘Indian-ised’ Dan Brown work. But of course, some parts are a bit too much even for a thriller fiction, with Bollywood – defying logic – scenes.

Overall, the writing is closer to that of Amish or Ashwin Sanghi, with comparatively easy to understand language, a decent pace of events, and can be quite an interesting read for those who like suspense and would like to know about the Greek history.

Just as a side note, a teeny-tiny piece of advice to Indian authors, from a humble but avid reader, using different synonyms for simple words just creates the need to read with a dictionary alongside rather than interesting content.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

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