WRITING STYLE: 5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 5/5
India’s greatest storyteller is back again after a long gap. After penning masterpieces such as The Krishna Key, The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant and The Sialkot Saga, Ashwin is back again with yet another magnum opus and this time its size and grandeur are simply awe-inspiring. Keepers of the Kalachakra is yet another brilliant work of fiction from the guy who has always managed to wow us with his stories.
What is the book all about?
Keepers of the Kalachakra is a historical cum mythological cum science-fiction thriller which revolves around an ancient concept in Vajrayana Buddhism – the Kalachakra. Kalachakra which forms the basis of this story essentially means wheels of time or “time-cycles”.
“Do you know the difference between mythology and history?’ asked Brahmananda. The lady expressed herself in a shrug. ‘Mythology is a set of lies that people rarely believe,’ Brahmananda said and paused. ‘And history?’ ‘A set of lies that people have agreed to believe.”
The story as it goes
Vijay Sundaram is a research scientist who is hired by a discreet organization called Milesian Labs to carry out his research on identifying quantum behaviour beyond quantum. But what Vijay doesn’t know yet is that Milesian Labs is run by the world’s most secretive society called Minerva and his research holds the clue to a cosmic and galactic secret. Unknowingly, Vijay is sucked into the heart of this invisible war which will soon decide the fate of humanity.
The plot stretches far and wide
From the American Presidential elections to the happenings in the caliphate in Raqqa, to the burning of the Nalanda University, to the Kargil war to Ram’s crossing over to Lanka, to the war between Saudis and Ottomans, this book covers many significant events throughout the history of mankind.
The beauty of Ashwin Sanghi’s writing lies in his intricately designed plots and diverse characters. This is quite visible in the Keepers of the Kalachakra as well. The frequent change in the timeline and locations of the narratives makes the book all the more exciting and compelling.
In my opinion, the jaw-dropping introduction of each new plot and character was the best part of the book. Every single chapter created intrigue and each character was brought about as an unravelled mystery.
Complex concepts with the simplest of explanations
The writing makes use of many mystical concepts, scientific theorems & researches, historical incidents and, conspiracy theories which Ashwin blends in beautifully with the story. This makes the book not just entertaining but also informative. Further, Ashwin has taken great pains to explain the most complex of this information with the easiest of explanations. The book also has a good number of pictures, diagrams, and illustrations to further boost the reading experience.
A huge amount of research has gone into writing Keepers of the Kalachakra and that is quite evident throughout the book. I also liked that fact that Ashwin has provided an exhaustive list of 58 references which contain books, opinion polls, articles, and, essays that he had read for this book.
Dynamic, powerful and diverse characters.
The best part of the book is its characters. Be it the conservative American President-elect or the radical Wahhabi Mafraqi, the mystic sage Brahmananda or the geek scientist Vijay, all the characters were just awesome. Each character introduction was always short and compact yet at the same time intriguing and shrouded in mystery.
Further, throughout the book, there was this one character who wrote letters to a guy named Masoud. This particular character was probably the best of all. No name was mentioned and no detail was given about it and hence it remained the most mysterious of all. The conclusion of this character’s story was also the best.
The climax could have been better
Perhaps, the only thing which had the slightest of the flaw was the climax. First, there was an information overload towards the end, I would have loved it if more focus was given to the story rather than the concepts (science and tantric mysticism). Secondly, after the mindboggling build-up to the climax, the end seemed a bit rushed. It felt like watching the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale when just like that “The Wall” comes crashing down.
After the huge pomp and show, you expect something spectacular and prolonged but alas, it just takes an ice dragon and a few seconds of screen time and the great ancient magical wall is down. I felt the same while reading the climax of Keepers of Kalachakra – in the end, it felt too easy and was brought about too quickly.
Entertainment, do I really have to state it?
The entertainment factor of the book is spot on. Throughout the course of the book, there is always an excitement to get to the next page. The fact that Ashwin ends most of the chapters with sentences like below makes the book even more exciting.
“What he saw froze him to death…”
“His heart told him it was over.”
“…Then he gasped when he realized who it was.”
These sentences are meant to make sure that the reader’s interest does not waver and I must say that’s a fantastic way to keep the fire alive. Considering everything that I have mentioned so far, the book is an absolute winner when it comes to entertainment quotient.
Keepers of the Kalachakra is undoubtedly a compelling read – it is one of those “on-the-edge-of-your-seat” thrillers which keeps the reader hooked on right till the end. I would, therefore, recommend it to all lovers of fiction.
Grab a copy if
I suggest you go for this book if you want to read a 5-star entertainer. All the other reasons my ratings and review in the previous paragraphs have already covered.
Skip the book if
Skip the book only if the idea of a historical cum mythological cum science-fiction thriller doesn’t excite you. You may also choose to stay away from it if science doesn’t really appeal to you. It will be good to know before-hand that Keepers of the Kalachakra has a lot of it.
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