Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Review of Living Through Legend - The first book of a trilogy on the ancient folklore of the Meluha

The Immortals of Meluha
                                  By Amish Tripathi
                      Tara Press
                      Pages: 398
                          Price: Rs. 300

This is a story about a Hero – a creature of flesh and blood who rises to the occasion and fulfills his karma; thus achieving godhood. Set in 1900 BC, the story revolves around the adventures of a tribal chieftain from Tibet called Shiva, who visits the fabled land of Meluha (the land now known as the Indus Valley Civilisation).

Meluha is ruled by the Suryavanshis, descendants of Lord Rama who have created an extremely stable society, based on certain rules and regulations. Meluha still lives by the ideals of Lord Rama. They face constant threats from the Chandravanshis; who live on the opposite side of India in Swadweep between the Ganga and the Brahmaputra which also holds Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Ram. To make matters worse, the Chandravanshis appear to have allied with the Nagas, an ostracised and sinister race of deformed humans with astonishing martial skills. The Meluhans (Suryavanshis) are waiting for an ancient legend to become true and save them from Chandravanshis as well as the Nagas — “when evil reaches epic proportions, when all seems lost, when it appears that your enemies have triumphed, a hero will emerge”. The power struggle that ensues sees the transformation of Shiva from an ordinary mortal to a saviour as well as the deliverer from evil.

The story is gripping and well-paced. An essentially mythological story written in a modern style, the novel creates anticipation in the readers mind and compels one to read with great curiosity till the end. The end however is a cliffhanger and leaves one thirsting for more. Hopefully, the next two parts of the trilogy will live up to this expectation.

 A lot has been said about the language of this book. The words are modern and at times it is difficult to reconcile the usage of words sometimes department of immigration and weapons of mass destruction with the time that the novel is set in. The author, Amish Tripathi in an interview said that he had a huge struggle with his editor/publisher about this issue. He wanted the dialogue to be more authentic and his publisher wanted it more modern. The end result pleases and does not take away from the core attraction of the book. All in all a great read and worth adding to your book collection.

Book Details:

This review by anjana saproo first appeared on on 7th June 2010

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