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.