03 April, 2018

#BookReview :: The Aryabhata Clan by Sudipto Das

The Islamic State has spread its tentacles in India, penetrating stealthily into the academia, media and politics. The mastermind is Shamsur Ali, a physicist from Bangladesh. To destabilize India, he wants to create a sort of apocalypse, which the 21-year-old Kubha must prevent at any cost, come what may.

In a brazen attempt at legitimizing the demolition of one of the most prominent historical structures in India, someone - unbelievably, it could be both Hiranyagarbha Bharata, a radical Hindu outfit, and the Islamic State - resorts to a big deceit. Afsar Fareedi, a linguistic paleontologist, catches the fraud. In the melee, there are three gruesome murders, including that of her father, perhaps to eliminate all traces of a carpet which, Afsar discovers, has a lot hidden in its mysterious motifs. At the centre of all this is a verse composed by the maverick mathematician, Aryabhata, some 1,500 years ago. 

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My first thought after I finished reading this book was that the author had aimed to achieve what Ashwin Sanghi does with his books and failed.

The premise of the book is that anti national groups and outfits have managed to make their way into the country and is trying to destabilize India. Kubha is the only one standing in their way. Sounds simple enough. But the plot also incorporates a lot of history, epigraphy, mathematics and different ideologies. Now that makes it sound interesting, doesn’t it?

Well, the premise had a lot of promise. But the book failed at multiple levels… The most basic problem that I had with the book was its characterization. Kubha, the protagonist, probably had the only advantage. She had a background and the wits. Remaining characters were all very one dimensional and some of them even felt like were made to tick off the generalized misrepresentations of the ‘clan’ they were representatives of.  With such one-dimensional characters, it was difficult to get invested in the story. The other aspect of the book that just didn’t work for me was the way the info dumps were made. The book would probably make for an informative read, but it just took away the hook and pace of a thriller.

But having said all that, the author must have done quite a bit of research for this book. That fact was very evident in the book. Though I haven’t cross checked anything, I am sure that the author has taken certain liberties for purely fictional purpose. The author’s language is dainty and helps the reader get into the rhythm of things.

Review Copy received from Nuclues PR

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