Book Review: The Secret of the Nagas

‘The Secret of the Nagas‘, the second book  in Shiva Trilogy by Amish T takes off exactly where ‘The Immortals of Meluha’ the first book of  ends – Sati-Shiva in engaged in a battle with mysterious Naga. It starts with action and ends with a surprise (that you begin to hope for while you are half-way through this book.)

Shiva trilogy traces the story from 1900 BC, when Shiva migrates from Mount Kailash in Tibet to Suryavanshi land called Meluha. Advent of Shiva unites talented, rule-bound Suryavanshis are united with their arch-rivals – the free-willed, unorganised Chandravanshis since they both believe in the legend of Neelkanth as saviour. (Amish interestingly puts it as masculine vs. feminine behaviour contrast on Pages 49-52.) Even though a legend of Neelkanth exists, Shiva is not a God – rather a wise man, struggling with his own demons, learning to play the role of ‘Mahadev’. Mahadev, to be noted, is a designation, not a reincarnation of a God. In this role, he is aided by Vasudev pundits at various temples, who can ‘radio transmit’ their thoughts and have conversations with him via radio waves (ooh!).  😉

In The Secret of the Nagas, Shiva realises that Nagas – the deformed creatures believed to be evil – have more role to play than it meets the eye. With the help from both Suryavanshis and Chandravanshis, Shiva is hot on the pursuit of a Naga who he believes has killed his friend Brahaspati – and everywhere he looks, he finds a new trail or connection to secretive Nagas.

Meanwhile, Shiva who had fallen in love and married Sati, daughter of extremely friendly Meluhan king Daksha, in the first book also becomes a father. The story about his first son and his turbulent relationship with his parents is the most poignant part of this book.

This books as its previous one is a page turner – the plot is smooth and all the loose ends connect to a complete pattern. Story as before is fast-paced, you are eager to know what comes next. I had my theories about the book, I am glad to confess that this book was not predictable as I had thought it to be. This I consider as an achievement of the book. Unlike first book, Shiva and his immediate family (his wife and sons) are the primary characters of this book. There are several revelations – the boundaries between good and evil seem to blur. Ganesha, the first son, is my favorite character in this book.

Other old characters such as Nandi, Veerbhadra and Drapaku have smaller roles, instead a Chandravanshi prince Bhagirath is the new character that has his own intriguing sub-plot.  General Parvateshwar, Shiva’s trusted Suryavanshi aide from previous book, a vowed celibate has fallen in love (oops, a spoiler – but now you need to find out who).

The language of the book remains a constant irritant as it was in the last book as well. Several conversations (even those of Sati-Shiva) come across as corny. Language, in a desperate attempt to be contemporary is uninspiring and a turn-off at times. There are editing errors like one on Page 50 (first sentence) – an incorrect usage of ‘it’s’. Amish as before tries to include war strategies. (I clearly remember an indignant reader of the first book who complained that war stratagem was taken off the movie Gladiator!) But, it is the elaborate description of temple layouts and structures in the book that I find incredibly boring.

However, despite its superficial style of writing, the semi-historic retelling of story in the way it weaves mythology still makes the book worth a read.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Also Read: A Book Club Meeting in Pune that had Amish as Chief Guest

Post the Tossed Salad Book Club Meeting (another record of the same book club meet)

10 Responses to “Book Review: The Secret of the Nagas”

  1. 1 Roshan Radhakrishnan September 28, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    the first thing that caught my eye in both books was the cover… thats what made me pick up the book..I love the way they’ve portrayed the characters making them seem human.

  2. 2 Poonam Sharma September 29, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Roshan: That book club meeting where AMish was chief guest – you would be surprised to know so many of the readers gathered that day said that they picked up the book due to the cover. Talk about judging a book by its cover. Cover was designed by Amish’s friend Rashmi.

    The concept, story, plot is all fine. One thing that book lets you down in language. There are also bits of philosphy stuff in Book 2 that sound mundane – but thankfully they are minor enough to live with it. 🙂

  3. 3 vishesh unni raghunathan October 10, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Unfortunately, I am unable to get past the first few pages. Impossible specially since I am have been reading Gurucharan Das, Douglas Adams, George R.R.Martin etc.

  4. 4 Radha October 15, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    was waiting to finish reading the book so that I could read your review.. agree with you on all counts – good pace, an endearing characterisation of Ganesh, quite creative (what with the radio waves and a liger!) ..
    and my grouse with the language and flaky dialogue continues.. I now officially hate the phrase ‘in the name of the holy lake’

  5. 5 theSuda October 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Even I noticed the book because of the cover 🙂 And I liked the second book than first one. The language improves a bit in second one. I hope third one will be better. I even found a silly spelling mistake somewhere. But the books are must read IMO.

  6. 6 Poonam Sharma November 1, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    @Vishesh Understandably so. This book is a quick read tho.

    @radha_ 🙂 – wish he could improve on language. He definitely has a story to tell.

    @theSuda – yeah, easy to find typos. I would say fire the editor but I guess (judging purely by the output) original draft language may not be very impressive either.

  7. 7 Reema November 24, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I had pre-ordered this book but have been unable to read it yet 🙂 hope to do so soon.

  8. 8 jeevan.rama January 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    One Book for Life Success offers so much of wisdom – just awesome

  9. 9 Anu March 30, 2013 at 4:23 pm

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