Sharanya Misra

“His eyes were blazing and his right hand was outstretched, his finger pointing straight at Manu, as Matsya screamed out the bloodcurdling words. PRALAY…ESHHYATI…! THE GREAT DELUGE…IS COMING…!”

1700 BCE. Harappa, the most advanced civilization on Earth, is on the verge of doom. The Surya of Harappa, the revered Vivasvan Pujari, is now a beast of a devta. Overcome with grief on the deaths of his beloved wife Sanjana and his dear son Manu, or so he thinks, Vivasvan now thirsts for the blood of his own men. Sara Maa, on whose banks Harappa thrives, has been coerced into becoming the Rakt Dhaara, out to destroy all that she had once lovingly nurtured. Manu, unknown to his father, has reached the Black Temple where the mysterious fish man Matsya awaits with a prophecy – Manu must save the world! 325 AD. Bithynian City. A legendary emperor crowns himself the harbinger of a ‘New World Order’ and gets the ball rolling on a scheme that would last millennia, setting off events beyond anyone’s control. 2017. Vidyut, a young and successful entrepreneur is suddenly caught up in the whirlwind of a past that threatens to destroy everything, and he may well be the saviour the world has been waiting for!

Vineet Bajpai’s ‘Pralay: The Great Deluge’ is an engaging mix of mythology and fiction that keeps you spellbound and asking for more. A sequel to his famed ‘Harappa: Curse of the Blood River’, the narrative is riveting as it traverses through thousands of years, generations and regions. The volume of research behind the story is unmistakable as characters from across the globe separated by centuries are suddenly brought together in a conspiracy that makes one wonder if it could really be happening under our noses this very instant! Indeed, a plot that brings the Dashavatar, ancient civilizations and elements of Christianity into the same mix can undoubtedly boast of daring imagination! What makes this historical plot work is the vital thread that runs in our current world, making the story not only interesting but also relevant. The book also impresses with its excellent portrayal of characters – they have been allowed to develop, err, learn and be human. My personal fascination lies in the author’s interpretation of Manu and Matsya – two mythological characters that most of us grew up with.

The book begins with a recapitulation of the happenings of the prequel, making it extremely reader friendly for those (like me) who hadn’t read the first of the series. By the time I had reached the end of the book, though, I was repenting reading the second as well – I will now have to wait for the third to know how it ends!! The only area that I found this book probably lacking in was its plot development. The book is effectually the bridge between the first and the third of the series, thereby becoming the platform where many parallel threads are initiated, only to be left hanging in the end, giving a sense of stagnation at some points and too much going on at others. I would have loved it if a couple of threads had reached their conclusions in this book and triggered the start of new ones in the next. Having said that, this could very well be a clever strategy of the author because now I oh-so-badly want to read more!

All in all, ‘Pralay: The Great Deluge’ is a great read – A well written mythological fiction, striking a chord with the reader’s beliefs even as it introduces the author’s bold imagination, successfully blurring the lines of ‘What was’ and ‘What Is’ and a fast-paced story that shows wonderful potential for an ingenious end in the sequel!

/*This book review is a part of “The Readers Comsos Book Review Program and Blog Tours, for details log on to “http://www.thereaderscosmos.com/” */

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