The Conspiracy at Meru
Author Shatrujeet Nath
Publisher Jaico Books.
Way back in Nov’201 7 I reviewed the first of Shatrujeet Nath’s trilogy the Vikramaditya Veeragata. He has now converted it to a series of four books.
The first book the Guardians of the Halahala ended with the Devas trying to bully vikramaditya. I remember being annoyed with the He-man presentation of the first book. The image of Shukracharya was fine, but the castles looked like the backdrop of the last air bender movie.
The first book was racy, and an interesting weave of mythology, history and imagination. Unfortunately the time lapse between the first and second book made the second book rather cumbersome to follow.
The second book lays the terrain for the story, different characters and their back stories make it to the forefront.
Many story tellers have created romantic back stories for Kalidasa before he became Kalidasa; Shatrujeet has his Kalidasa dealing with memory loss. Of course he has images flashing by that disturb him.
Vararuchi takes on the role of Vikramaditya’s older brother, the relationship and story is built along the lines of Dhruva, and Uttanapada.
There is a very interesting sentence that the mother oracle says,
“go where you need to be and not where you want to be.”
Vikramaditya is associated with the throne and the Vetal, interestingly Shatrujeet has Vetala Bhatta as the Raja-Guru while the Vetala is renamed as Ghoulmaster.
Some minor irritants in the book are the use of the word “Maghadans” for the people of Magadha; the people of Magadha are called Maghadi. The book one referred to Vikramaditya going to the borderland, to connect with the Ghoul master, but there is no follow up here.
What I like about Shatrujeet’s writing is the ability to create a visual, yet allowing my imagination to play out, like the mythical beast Vyayla awakened by the Asura (it can only be woken by a person with both Deva and Asura blood) reminded me of a silvery hydra, while “Ahi” who is woken by Jayanta again of Deva and Asura lineage reminds me of the deep sea monsters of Greek Mythology.
If he introduced the border land in the first book, Shatrujeet talks of thought harnessing in the second. Where Vetala Bhatta and Shukracharya mutual break into each others thought.
The nine gems of Vikramaditya are given nine powers, Amarasimha turns into a man lion, Kshapanaka can emit poison arrows, Shankubala can transport herself to different places, and Vetala Bhatta can create an energy shield.
Other interesting concepts the author brings about, is the existence of Danava’s. Normally Danava, Asura, rakshasa are all used interchangeably to represent various demonic forces. Shatrujeet has identified them as forest spirits who gave refuge to the asura’s. The Asura eventually ousted them, remodelled the forest, dug the earth for minerals and caused devastation.
To be honest the book 2 was tedious, there were too many characters and it did not really flow, the change of location was rather abrupt. Once I could get the ends together, reading became easier. Though I really spent more time in getting through this book as compared to my normal reading. The book is definitely worth the effort.
Victory is temporary the Battle is Eternal
To buy the book on amazon click here.Thankfully I read the third book right away.