I haven’t read Ashwin Sanghi’s first book ‘Rozabal Line’. But when I picked up Chanakya’s Chant I was delighted by the author’s imagination and presentation. And that’s what led me to pick up The Krishna Key for review this time.
Five thousand years ago, there came to earth a magical being called Krishna, who brought about innumerable miracles for the good of mankind. Humanity despaired of its fate if the Blue God were to die but was reassured that he would return in a fresh avatar when needed in the eventual Dark Age—the Kaliyug.
In modern times, a poor little rich boy grows up believing that he is that final avatar.
Only, he is a serial killer.
In this heart-stopping tale, the arrival of a murderer who executes his gruesome and brilliantly thought-out schemes in the name of God is the first clue to a sinister conspiracy to expose an ancient secret—Krishna’s priceless legacy to mankind.
Historian Ravi Mohan Saini must breathlessly dash from the submerged remains of Dwarka and the mysterious lingam of Somnath to the icy heights of Mount Kailash, in a quest to discover the cryptic location of Krishna’s most prized possession. From the sand-washed ruins of Kalibangan to a Vrindavan temple destroyed by Aurangzeb, Saini must also delve into antiquity to prevent a gross miscarriage of justice.
– Book Synopsis
With a synopsis that is compelling enough to make anyone pick up the book for a quick read, The Krishna Key is crafted for conspiracy theorists…those with a nose for history…and a reader who loves to go into the writer’s world and stay there.
As I read up about Ashwin and his debut novel which he first published under a pseudonym, I came across an quote where the writer said that he is deeply inspired by Dan Brown. For anyone who hasn’t read Brown, Ashwin Sanghi will come across the most imaginative writer ever read. For me the Brown-hangover was too apparent, but then that doesn’t take away too much from the book.
What makes for a great thriller?
A taunt story-line. Characters that are clearly defined. Cliff hanger situations. A narrative that teases and tests the reader in each page. And twists that are unpredictable.
Sanghi has all this in The Krishna Key…at least in parts.
Unlike Dan Brown where you lap up the pages in awe of Robert Langdon, I found the anti-hero, Taarak Vakil more compelling in Sanghi’s book. His backstory, motivations and actions were far more interesting than the historian Ravi Mohan Saini’s.
However, the Dan Brown baggage in terms of over reading of mythology, history and theology in this book has taken a giant leap. At several points in the novel, I found myself lost in historical details. I got too entangled in theories, studies, observations that I could barely chaff fact from fiction. Or perhaps that’s what the writer had set out to do. Throw too many fantastical theories at the reader that he is bewildered beyond wits and takes Saini / Mataji’s versions for truth! But really, if the reader needs to take historical notes to follow Saini’s logic, then the book literally turns every reader into a history student!
I love the Mahabharata. Between the two great epics I find Mahabharata far more real and believable. So if someone were to tell me that Krishna really existed, I wouldn’t mind taking it face value. So in that case, the reader in me wanted to read a book around a conspiracy theory.
It’s is apparent that Sanghi has spent a large amount of time in researching the book. His sense of factual history is incredible. The ability to link concepts and derive imaginative theories is commendable. For instance, his description of how David’s Star originated in India and his logic behind it is noteworthy. But then the average Joe who takes a book at its face value may not be able to judge the extent of Sanghi’s imagination.
So for every reader, here is a word of caution: Sanghi has used the author’s imaginative license very liberally. So therefore, historical facts, characters and personalities are sometimes tweaked. One must not take the book literally, but indulge in it as a work of fiction that is based on Indian mythology and history.
A word to the publisher: Just because a book has the ability to become a best seller (and I really see no reason why The Krishna Key will not become one) you must not slip at your editing. Several errors run through the book, names are switched, sometimes the pace is allowed to slacken. The little introductions into Krishna’s story could have been done away with. They distracted me.
If your answer to any of the following statements is a ‘yes’ then pick up the book:
1) Love Dan Brown style of thrillers seeped in history, religion and mythology
2) Love conspiracy theories
3) Have never read Dan Brown
4) Want a book that challenges your sense of history
5) Looking for a fast paced book that keeps you turning the pages in quick succession