Publication Date: June 4th 2017
Publisher: VB Performance LLP
Genres: Historical Fiction / Mythological Fiction
Part of Series? Yes (Name of the series not known yet)
Source: Review copy
Goodreads Blurb: The story oscillates from history to mythology, from occult to religion, from exorcism to gunfights, from taantrics to warriors, from love to ambition. It knits 3,700 years, powerful ancient and modern-day characters and a nail-biting conspiracy – all in one literary thriller. Harappa is the first among a series of four books.
2017, Delhi – Vidyut’s dying ancestor summons him to Banaras. The old Brahmin chieftain of the Dev-Raakshasa Matth, or the God-Demon Clan, bears a chilling secret. Their bloodline carries an ancient curse that will plague mankind – towards its own violent extinction.
1700 BCE, Harappa – Harappa is a magnificent city on the banks of the mighty Saraswati river. The darkness of treachery, taantric exorcism and bloodshed unleashes itself on the last devta, paving the way for his devastating revenge…and the horrifying truth behind the fall of the glorious civilisation.
2017, Paris – The world’s most powerful religious institution is rattled. Europe’s dreaded crime lord meets a mysterious man in Paris. A lethal assassin boards a train, as Rome fears the worst. The prophesied devta has returned.
What connects Banaras, Harappa and Rome? What was the ancient curse and who was the last devta? What is the terrible secret behind the fall of the colossal Indus Valley? Read on as you travel through a saga of violence and deceit, gods and demons, love and ambition.
Introduction & Plot
Why I was intrigued towards reading this was because of the title itself: Harappa. I have never read anything about this civilization, of course except the course books. So, when I got a chance to review this book I, I grabbed it instantly. And I was not disappointed at all.
The story starts when Vidyut Shashtri, the main protagonist of the story, is called upon to Varanasi where his great-grandfather, Dwarka Shashtri, is on deathbed. Vidyut is a successful entrepreneur and an eligible bachelor who lives with her girlfriend Damini who is a journalist. When Vidyut reaches Varanasi, his great-grandfather starts telling him the story of the curse that has been brought upon his entire generation and the humankind by his ancestor Vivasvan Shatri.
Parallel to this story is running another story, including Vivasvan Pujari as main Protagonist, in 1700 BCE during the great Harappa civilization or the Indus Valley civilization. Vivasvan Pujari is the chief priest of the city and he was soon to become the lead person of Harappa. This was not acceptable to Priyamvada, the wife of Vivasvan’s best friend and brother-in-law Pundit Chandradhar. She conspires against him with dark forces and ultimately turns every person in Harappa against him. This ultimately leads to the destruction of Harappa and put a curse on Vivasvan’s bloodline.
In present, the story goes to Rome where an assassin is planning to kill Vidyut and thus sends a person Romi to Varanasi to kill Vidyut. With the help of his friends, Vidyut managed to save himself. The story then reveals various secrets.
Who is this assassin who wants to kill Vidyut and why? What is the relation between Vivasvan pujari and Vidyut? What is that curse which led to the destruction of Harappa and its people? Will Vidyut be able to know the full truth?
Character building and plot development
I guess the plot is the main and strongest part of this story. The plot is constructed so well around different eras that you don’t feel that you suddenly jumped from one time period to another. All the events are well connected and fast paced. The author has maintained a very good level of thriller and suspense throughout the book. At places, I was so engrossed in the story that I wanted to know all of the secrets at one time. But Vineet Bajpai has cleverly crafted the storyline. He doesn’t provide with too much secret at one point and just left the other parts simply boring. In fact, he has unfolded the secrets one by one leaving the readers to want more. This was seriously such a great thing in favour of the story. There are so many twists and turns that you keep turning on the pages. here I must admit that it took me some time to get into the story, but once I was in, I was ALL IN for good.
As this is the first book in the series (yes it is going to be a series, YaY!), the details of the main antagonists were kept short. A think it makes a valid point to introduce the villain in next part. The main focus was kept on the storyline and the and the characters involved.
There are multiple characters in the story apart from the main protagonists. All the characters are well developed. Each character has been presented according to their era. The Harappan characters have been deployed perfectly. Their thoughts, trust in one person, belief in God and Saptrishis, all felt surreal. On the other hand, the characters in the present day have been portrayed much like they should be. I really liked how the environment of Dev-Raakshasa Matth have been portrayed. I haven’t thought that the writer would present it in such a modern way. The description of all the food provided in Matth was so tempting 😛
Vidyut has been presented as a strong character who is half-human, half God. The story is presented in a style this description of Vidyut as well as of Vivasvan pujari doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Both Vidyut and Vivasvan are men of strong will power. They have tendency and strength to fight multiple at a single time.
The author has also portrayed some of the female characters pretty bold, like Naina. She is a girl yet not less powerful than any man. She fought like a tigress when the assassin attacked Vidyut. Also, Damini has been portrayed perfectly as per her character description. She is a journalist with modern thoughts and she didn’t hesitate in asking her doubts to Dwarka Shahstri.
This is another great thing about this novel. The author has used such a simple and easy language that anyone can understand easily. At the same time, it doesn’t feel like a writing of an ordinary author. The storyline progresses flawlessly and smoothly, going from one era to another. The writing keeps the reader engaged. One main thing to highlight here is that author has used many Hindi language words (as expected by an Indian author in most of the case), but he has told the meaning of each word in English too. This, I guess, will not stop a non-Hindi reader from reading this masterpiece.
The writing of the author shows how much research has been done about Harappa and Varanasi. The description of Harappa felt as if it is coming straight from a famous history book and many times it made me believe as if all the things were real (but of course, I can manage this 😛 ). The description of Kashi/Varanasi is equally beautiful. The details of various streets of Varanasi, its food, the aarti on Ganga Ghats, all felt so real, that it made me to visit that city soon. I wish I could 🙁
It is evident in the author’s writing that he follows Hinduism devotionally. I loved how he has described his bold thoughts about religion. He has clearly presented his opinion for females and how they should get an equal place in the society.
What I liked
- Well researched and executed Harrapan and Varanasi culture.
- Well developed characters and storyline.
- The leap between different eras i.e. from 1700 BC to present doesn’t bore you.
- Fast paced, thrilling and engrossing story.
- A new kind of fantasy content from an Indian author.
What I didn’t like
- The main thing that I didn’t like was the use of words like “yaa” in conversations between Vidyut and Damini and sometimes with Naina. The use of those words was not fitting with the story well.
- The story is a little slow in the beginning.
The succession of horrors and violence that Harappa was about to withstand had never been witnessed before by mankind, but hereon would be endured again and again. Each time man would shed the blood of innocents to quench the unquenchable thirst of one demon. Every era would hear the shrieks of suffering millions, only to satisfy the insatiable hunger of one tyrant who wanted it all for himself. And it was going to begin soon.
Mythological fiction is a recent trend in India and though I haven’t read much of this genre, I know that it isn’t always the case that an Indian author pulls such a great and engrossing story. Vineet Bajpai has perfectly mixed up the fantasy and contemporary, the past and the present. The story ends with a cliffhanger and many questions remained unanswered. It left me hooked till the last page and I really wish the second book comes soon and it is as good as this. Harappa was such a refreshing read. It would be no surprise if this gets adapted to a feature film 😛 If you are into this genre, then I would definitely recommend it to you.
A wonderful and gripping tail mixed with fantasy and contemporary elements – HARAPPA: Curse of the Blood River by Vineet Bajpai
Would Recommend To
- Who like the historical/mythological genre.
- for readers who love fast paced thriller set between multiple time periods.
- who like to read a mix of fantasy and real world ending with cliffhangers.
- readers who like page-turners.
PS: “This Book Review/Interview is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Book Promotions” To know more, log on to http://thereaderscosmos.blogspot.in/
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Have you read this? What did you think about this? Are you into this genre?
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