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Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Review : ‘The Avatari' by Raghu Srinivasan

There are books and I have been reading quite a few, nowadays. But there was a book, ‘The Avatari’, which managed to catch my eye and kept it caught as it flowed freely across the many hills, mountains, valleys going up to the different countries and back.

Not only is it so widespread in its content, but its detailing is brilliant, as well. The author Raghu Srinivasan is a serving officer in the Indian army, and his words tend to spread across as his own travels too. 

His main protagonist is a retired British Army officer, Henry Ashton, who intends to start off on a trip to retrieve a golden metal artefact and deliver it to a Laotian monastery.The artefact was found by an American adventurer is the 1930s and it is returned in the 1950s by his grandson to a monastery. But this Laotian monastery loses the artefact in 1980s. 

Ashton receives a letter from a monk with a request to retrieve the artefact. Ashton is ably assisted by his retired Gurkha sergeant, Durga Bahadur, an Oxford mathematics professor, Susan who has a story of her own, and an American mercenary who is on CIA hit list.

All of them together, are after an ancient secret, which is kept safe at Shambhala, a sacred mountain in Tibet. But, only the Avatari can gain access to this, and that is the reason why Henry Ashton (the Avatari) becomes involved more and more, as time goes on.

The story has numerous twists and turns, including an ancient map, which can be traced back to Marco Polo and Kublai Khan. The several locations include the hostile deserts of Ladakh, the chaos in Pakistan and the Afghan war at its worst.
We are put through so many characters, timelines and countries. Most of the characters are etched perfectly. Well, almost!  Sometimes, I felt it was a little overdone, and perhaps a tad boring.

The search for the mythical kingdom is full of supernatural quests, which only an Avatari can reach. How and why he does it, is in this page turner. You have to have complete diligence, perhaps a little like, how an army works.

The excellent research, fine detailing, a good history lesson, also the costs of war and poverty with titbits about Karma, Kalchakra and Buddhism are all a part of this narration, which promises to keep you spellbound. So, three cheers for Raghu Srinivasan and many more books from him, as well…

Author: Raghu Srinivasan
Genre: Fiction/ Adventure & Thriller
Publisher: Hachette India
ISBN: 9789350095744
Price: Rs 399/-

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