Professor Bharadvaj is more than just another whisky-loving, gun-toting historian-for-hire. Behind the assumed identity of the cynical academic is a man who has walked the earth for scores of years. He is Asvatthama - the cursed immortal, the man who cannot die.
When Professor Bharadvaj is approached by the enigmatic Maya Jervois to search for a historical artefact unlike any other, he is reluctant to pursue it. The object in question, the Vajra, is rumoured to possess incredible alchemical powers, but the Professor does not believe it exists. After all, he has spent many lifetimes - and identities - searching for it, in a bid to unearth the secret to his unending life.
Yet, as the evidence of its existence becomes increasingly compelling, the Professor is plunged into an adrenaline-fuelled adventure that takes him from the labyrinthine passages beneath the Somnath temple to the legendary home of the siddhas in the Nilgiris, and finally into the deserts of Pakistan to solve a confounding puzzle left behind by the ancients.
But who is behind the dangerous mercenaries trying to thwart his discoveries at every step? And is the Professor - a legendary warrior in a long-ago life – cursed to walk the path of death and bloodshed forever?
Professor Bharadvaj would have ceased to exist had the call from his assistant, Manohar, had not come the moment that it did.
Being Immortal has its advantages and disadvantages, and nobody knows it better than Asvatthama. He has to shed his identities every few years in order to keep mortals from discovering his true identity. It was time to end the persona of Professor Bharadvaj and cut all ties from that life in order to restart a new life with a new name when Manohar calls with information that could possibly change Asvatthama’s life. Ms.Maya had approached to get in touch with Professor Bharadvaj with regards to a relic which could mean either of two things. First option would be that she wanted to go on a wild goose chase looking for the Vajra, an object with great alchemical powers. Or, she could have traced back his real identity and this could be a trap for him. Not willing to take a chance in case she had any real information, Asvatthama agrees to meet this woman. When she produces real proof about the possibility of Vajra being in existence, and they get attacked immediately after – Professor Bharadwaj embarks upon a journey spanned around the world to hunt this object before he becomes a victim.
The book opens with a scene that establishes the immortal nature of our protagonist and right off the bat we are taken on a journey that takes us from beautiful Dwaraka to intriguing Baluchistan. The story is narrated from the point of view of the protagonist. For a man of the world who has lived through history since the times of Mahabharata, Asvatthama sure has a personality that is both expected and yet surprising. His experiences with life have given him unique perspectives and at the same time brings with certain insecurities that make him human. He is intelligent, he is smart and he is certainly endearing, that is once you get to know him. Maya Jervois was a character I wasn’t very sure about at the beginning… I had my doubts about which side she was really playing on and about her true motives. But her character is shaped up nicely over the storyline and yes, I will leave you to wonder whether she is the heroine or the vamp of the story. There is not a single major character that is indispensable in the story. Each of them has something to contribute and have been developed just right. As for the plot, the author has managed to create a line that keeps the readers intrigued throughout. With the right balance of action and information delivery, the book hardly has a slow patch. It is very apparent that the author has put in quite a bit of research in this story and the fusion of facts with fiction is well delivered. Her language and narrative style only adds positives to the story.
This is book for Mystery, Thriller & Mythology lovers.
Review Copy received from Hachette India