Tantrics of Old is dark fantasy, following a young Necromancer, a Tantric, Adri Sen, as he runs from an ancient Horseman, Death, in a city just as old.
Enter the two cities; New Kolkata, pristine, untouched, ruled by an iron fist by the perfect government, MYTH—a city existing in the shadow of the old one, and Old Kolkata, forgotten, broken, crumbling, where demons roam free and shadows whisper.
In a world where death is sudden and quick in its tendency to not forgive, Adri must wade through threats new and old; political conspiracy, the demons of his past, a government that remembers, and above all, whispers of impending doom, the coming apocalypse, drums of the dead.
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I will admit it freely that I picked up this book mainly because it is set in my hometown Kolkata. Being away from home often makes you nostalgic and sentimental about your city and it was my homesickness that I wanted to appease by reading this book.
Krishnarjun Bhattacharya has set up a whole new world within the confines of the oldest city of India through the pages of this book. The city is now divided into Old and New Kolkata, where the Old Kolkata lives under the shadows while the New Kolkata gobbles up the entire spotlight. New Kolkata is primeval under the new regime while the streets of Old Kolkata remains forgotten – almost! The world building has been done in a way so that as a reader I found something new in the pages all the while feeling the familiarity of the city as well. It is world where fantasy is the reality, yet the main spirit of the city remains almost intact. It couldn’t have been easy to do so and thus I would very much like to applaud the author for it.
The book tells us a well plotted story of a fantastical world where Tantrics, Necromancers, Demons and Angels are real. The Horseman of death comes to life in these pages and it would have been oh so easy to go over the edge with it. It was clear the author had a very clear vision of the world and the plot and it was evident in his narration. As such it was a hell of a ride to take with the protagonist Adri. The detail oriented nature of the author will make it easy for people who do not know much of the real city, to envision the city that he has created. The characterization has been done well, especially with respect to Adri. I did not really warm up to the character of Maya partly because of her conflicts and partly because of her resistance to actually act.
My only problem was once again with the language. While the language used is quite refined in comparison to a lot of books out there, another round at the editors table would have served the book well. At the beginning, I felt like the author was trying too hard to paint a picture and once the pace was set, the language could actually do with more depth. Given the fact that this is the author’s debut, I hope he will grow alongside his books.
In the end though, this book was something that I enjoyed. I will certainly not remember it for the language but I will remember its plot and characters. I do hope that there is a sequel soon.
Review Copy received from Fingerprint Publishing