Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Immortals of Meluha

'The Immortals of Meluha' is an "action-drama" based on Hindu mythology. It's the first book of the Shiva trilogy by Amish.

Frankly, it's not a book I would've picked up under normal circumstances, but the jacket caught my eye. Then I read the blurb at the back, which seemed different and interesting. I was also intrigued by the name of the author. 'Amish' sounded very mystical. It's an entirely different story that he turned out to be some Amish Trivedi!!

Anyway, the story is set in 1900 B.C. in what is now known as the Indus Valley Civilization (called Meluha by the people living in that period). Meluha is an utopian empire created many centuries earlier by Lord Ram and inhabited by the Suryavanshis. However, they face annihilation as their life-giving river - the Saraswati - is gradually dying. At the same time, they face terrorist attacks from the Chandravanshis, who are corrupt, immoral and unethical - basically the anti-thesis of the Suryavanshis. To make matters worse, the Chandravanshis have allied with the Nagas - a sinister race of deformed humans with astonishing martial skills. The only hope for the Suryavanshis is an ancient legend which says that ‘when evil reaches epic proportions, when all seems lost, when it appears that your enemies have triumphed, a hero will emerge’.

I really liked the book. It seems to be vey well researched. The story is fantastic. It's based on the premise that all Gods, including Shiva, started out as regular human beings. It was their deeds - their karma - due to which they came to be considered Gods.

Even though the story is based really back in time and there's a certain amount of awe and reverence attached to gods among Indians, the characterization of Shiva, the protagonist, is such that you really connect with him. Also, the author has woven certain incidents - such as why Shiva came to be called the 'Neelkanth', how the slogan of 'har har mahadev' came about, how the 'trishul' came into existence etc. - very beautifully into the narrative. There's even a cute love story in there, with just the right amount of mush!

My only issue was with the language, especially during conversations between the characters. The language is very American. It feels really out of place considering we're talking ancient India (1900 B.C.) and sort of takes away from the book. "What's wrong with you, woman?", "Oh come on, man!" and "It's a deal!" don't quite sit well on the lips of Gods & Goddesses, do they?

However, inspite of the language the book is very engaging. It'll have you hooked. A word of caution though : this book is part of a trilogy, so obviously it ends at a point that will make you buy the next book in the series as well. Now, we all know how sequels go, so we can only hope the subsequent books are not a let down.


muddleglum said...

I agree about the language problem. OTOH, I've read similar stories with a background of Welsh or Irish myth and the stories attempt to make the gods/goddesses sound grand. After a while, though, it sounds tiring and I get very tempted to skip the god/goddess dialogue parts.

I had a good laugh that is slightly off-topic.

"'Amish' sounded very mystical."

Hmmm! I'm Amish-Mennonite and know many of the Amish. Never thought mystical would have fitted these people.

Bluestocking said...

Sounds interesting....I think I will try it out :-) but after u finish the trilogy....Dragon Tattoo has left me a little wary of trilogies

Moonshine said...

I am happy that you have given a good review!!! Going to start reading it tonight!!!! :)

the-mommie said...

I'd seen the jpg on one of ur pages and have been intrigued ever since. Now a even more curious about it. Hope I can find a copy of the book here 'coz the husband's refusing to share the kindle at this point!!

btw, ‘when evil reaches epic proportions, when all seems lost.....’ reminds me of the voiceover for that really fun movie frm long back - Tridev! remember? :)

Scarlett said...

@Muddleglum - Hey, you're Amish!! I'd heard a lot of stories about Amish people while I was studying in the US. Isn't there an Amish town somewhere near Philly? In fact, when I heard this author's name, it reminded me of the Amish people!!

P.S.: What does 'OTOH' stand for?

@Bluestocking - Well, the second book of the trilogy is due sometime mid-2011 & the final book after that, so it'll be a while before I complete the trilogy :) Read 'Immortals' only if you're OK with Hindu mythology, else you won't like it.

@Moonshine - Your take on what you've read as of now, please :)

@Mommie - Yes, I remember Tridev! I was little when the movie came out, so I remember the voice-over only vaguely. Wasn't it Naseeruddin Shah's voice?

the-mommie said...

yeah naseeruuddin shah. "paap se dharti phati.. phati... phatiii.... adharm se aasmaan.. aasmaan... asmaannn...." etc I remember thinking it was all very cool! :D

Moonshine said...

@mommie Hahahaha yes thats the favourite bit isnt it!! I loved Tridev...

muddleglum said...

OTOH=On The Other Hand.
Sorry, been on the 'Net too long.

start bore=moderate

There is a high concentration of Amish in Lancaster County, yes, but "Amish town" would tend to convey misinformation. Perhaps village would be clearer. I'm Amish-Mennonite, which is a very liberal arm and not always considered "real" Amish. We own cars and are on the electrical grid. Call me faux-Amish.

The Amish, though they have religious reasons for remaining farmers/craftsmen, keep as far from mysticism as they can.

end bore

Supernova said...

I'm intrigued...wanna read this one...too bad its part of a Trilogy Trap but can't let that get in the way of a good story, can we? :)

Scarlett said...

@Mommie/Moonshine - Yes, I remember it very clearly now. But my favorite part of Tridev was the 'tirchi topiwale song' :)

@Muddleglum - Amish & Mormons are two really intriguing communities. There are also the Scientologists, but I think they're more 'random' than intriguing.

@Supernova - It's a good story, and there's a certain sex appeal in Shiva's character. Read it. You can always choose not to read the remaining 2 books.

rohit said...

An enjoyable read The Immortals of Meluha by Amish . loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and original, this book is going in by "to read" list.