WRITING STYLE: 4/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5
One of our co-founders at BookGeeks.in, Ravi, is a die-hard fan of Ashwin Sanghi and now I know exactly why. So when Ravi requested Ashwin for an option to be able to buy the “Author Signed Copies” of his 3 books, Ashwin duly obliged by sending him the “Personally Addressed & Signed” copies of all his 3 books. This happened before bookGeeks.in was born and thus was just an act of an author reaching out to his fan and fulfilling his dearest wish. It is something which cannot be said of many authors today. So, when looking for the next book to read I, as a supporter of Indian authors, dutifully picked out Ashwin Sanghi’s ‘The Rozabal Line’.
The Rozabal line is a ‘Historical Fiction‘ novel which revolves around the conspiracy theory of the alleged survival of Jesus from the crucifixion, his marriage to Mary Magdalene before the crucifixion, and his subsequent settling and finally death in what is now the modern day Indian Kashmir. Ashwin Sanghi has been hailed as the “Indian Dan Brown” and the book definitely tells us why. The Rozabal line is the brainchild of a detailed and meticulous research of the author on the subject of the conspiracy and it is indeed the author’s ability to link historical facts with characters and plots and sew them together so intricately so as to create such a compelling read as The Rozabal Line. The book is completely engrossing and totally un-putdown-able. There is no way you can let go off the book before getting to know the final truth of the Rozabal Line.
Sanghi has a gift of creating compelling plots and characters by putting together information and topics which have no co-relation to each other. The very fact that the many claims and points are supported by extensive researches adds to the mysterious aura surrounding the plot. The footnotes provided are really interesting and makes you question well-established notions and facts. Another thing that kept me glued to the book was its unpredictability at almost every stage; I simply couldn’t guess what would happen next? Who was plotting against whom? What was the intention of Ghalib, Martha, Prithviraj and Elliot and finally who were they working with and why? I unravelled a new twist and turn at the end of every chapter and it was really mind-boggling.
As you must have already guessed, in my opinion, the book is an “A- Lister”. But since no good review is complete without some negatives, I would like to list a few things which could have been better. To start with, there were certain characters and sub-plots which seemed a little unnecessary and irrelevant to me and so did their detailed descriptions. At some point, it gave the impression of being included just to fill pages. Also, the numerous plots, sub-plots, characters – both important & unimportant, societies and places got a bit confusing and were difficult to keep track of thus necessitating the need to keep going back to the previous chapters to remember who or what they were. I kept a mental note of almost everything, especially keeping full tabs on the secret societies like Rhodes and Skull & Bones only to discover in the end that they were completely unimportant.
All that being said, in the end, I just hope that the cover had been a little more interesting and better in quality. With so many “good-for-nothing” books selling like hotcakes only because of attractive covers and catchy titles, a better and interesting cover would have done more justice to the plot. The book definitely deserved better in this department. Finally, I would like to congratulate Ashwin for the wonderful job done and wish him more success to come. India deserves good authors like him and we need to support them so that they wouldn’t have to publish under pseudonyms and in another country just to make it to the shelves.