Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: The Avatari by Raghu Srinivasan

History has a strong bearing on our lives. Till this day a lot of secrets which have been long lost have found some serious and some crazy takes. While few have been deciphered but some being shielded from the human eye. Author Raghu Srinivasan in his book "The Avatari" takes the readers on calm yet turbulent journey of a long lost secret which will make it's presence felt in the present. So does the author delivers accordingly? Let's find out. 

A Mythical Kingdom: Legend has it that only those chosen by destiny can gain entry into Shambhala, the mythical kingdom believed to hold the ancient wisdom that humanity will need to resurrect itself from the inevitable apocalypse. They are the Avatari.
An Ancient Artefact: When Henry Ashton, a retired British Army officer settled in the Yorkshire dales, receives a letter from a monk entreating him to prevent a hidden treasure stolen from a Laotian monastery from being misused, he finds himself honour-bound to respond. Assisted by a retired Gurkha Sergeant, a high-strung mathematician from Oxford with a Shambhala fixation of her own and an American mercenary on the CIAs hit list, Ashtons mission leads to an ancient map that dates back to the time of the great Mongol, Kublai Khan.
A Secret that Must Not be Revealed: The group follows the trail, risking the perils of the inhospitable deserts of Ladakh, turmoil in Pakistan and the rugged mountains of Northern Afghanistan, where the Afghan War is at its height. But they are up against a deadly adversary with seemingly unlimited resources, who will stop at nothing to get possession of the ancient secret a secret that, if revealed, could threaten the very fabric of human civilization.

First look at the title and the cover and history has a bearing all over it. The old ruins, the mystic symbols it all overpowers the senses and creates furore in the mind. The title itself is a strong statement towards an unexpected journey for the readers. The blurb has been divided into three parts and all three of them have been interlinked with each other and the past meets the present. Probably few things could have been left to the imagination of the readers. 

The story starts in the present day where retired officer Henry Ashton is embroiled in a controversy to which he is completely ignorant. Something from the past and the distant land of Laos his once refuge has come up and he has been called for to fulfil his promise. He is confused as sudden developments lead him to assemble a team and he undertakes an adventure which will alter the course of history. So will Ashton be able to decipher and bust the myth of Shambhala? Who will prove to be his nemesis? What role some people from distant past will play in this adventure cum exploration? That's what the story is all about. 

An adventure, an exploration, excitement, secrets,history and drama it all makes the book alluring. The strong essence of history and rather one of the less talked aspects of history takes readers for a spin. The story tumbles and toils and sometimes paces along furiously. The whole confusion and hype creating a lot of scope and leaving a lot to be discovered by the readers. The build up to the whole adventure and it's connection from the past adds the flavour of anticipation to the whole idea. 

The downside of the book it's too many character introductions towards the end. The tightened grip let lose in the second half. The plot loses purpose when politics is involved. Action which becomes an overdose towards the end killing the historical relevance of the book. The unfolding of facts too plain and felt incomplete. A befitting end to the book also found wanting. 

All in all the book promised to deliver a lot but failed to sustain the momentum and hype. The mix of action of present day and history of past lost it's touch and went haywire. The book delivers good and curious moments in parts but leaks and bleeds in the second half. Imagination which had to run wild happens to an extent but the adventure turns out to be predictable and not so menacing and eye popping. A book with some good fantasy but not so perfect deliverance. 


3 OUT OF 5

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