PLOT: 4/5

Historical thrillers have a peculiar charm to them.

Not only do they give you a historical perspective and information about the past, but there is also a certain thrill in the anticipation that something built or written hundreds of years ago can still reveal secrets today that the protagonists are trying to unearth.

It is no wonder that authors like Dan Brown and such others are able to enthral audiences with their books on history and mythology.

And Radhika Nathan’s “A Time to Burnish” is no less in giving the same thrill. Josh Winslow, a security and technology expert, is sent to India by his brother Tom to confirm the origins of a Chola bronze Nataraja idol.

Tom, who was a curator at a prestigious museum in London had acquired the idol for the said museum but was no worried about its provenance.

He asks Josh to go to Chennai from where the idol was supposedly originated to investigate. Tom also asks his friend Vidya Thyagarajan, who stays in the city, to help Josh while he is in India.

But what was supposed to be a simple trip turns out much more than that, with both Josh and Vidya having to traverse not only the streets of Chennai but also small towns looking for clues.

One of the tricky things about reviewing thrillers is that you don’t want to give too much away so the reader can fully enjoy the book.

But Radhika’s handling of the plot and the relationship between Josh and Vidya is excellent, as she made sure one did not overlap the other and yet gave the amount of importance it needed.

The use of the background story to affect present-day events was well done too.

The writing is excellent too, with the plot and story tightly woven and the language flawless as well. As is the case with any good thriller, “A Time to Burnish” is a page-turner and keeps the reader on their toes about what might happen next.

One gripe about the book is the cover. When picking up the book, it did not seem like this would be one that I might enjoy.

But I was surprised with the writing and editing in the book, as I was completely expecting it to be a shoddy effort as is the case with most other books with gaudy book cover designs.

But don’t be fooled by the presentation, because “A Time to Burnish” is an excellent read.