Title: The Secret of the Nagas
Author: Amish Tripathi
Publisher: Westland Limited
Price: Rs 295
And the story continues. The Secret of the Nagas, the second offering in the Shiva Trilogy, picks up right where The Immortals of Meluha ends.
Shiva, a Tibetan immigrant and the acclaimed ‘Neelakanth‘ of Suryavanshi and Chandravanshi peoples’ legends, continues the battle against Evil, as well as trying to quell the demons within himself.
The story is characterised by a good deal of travelling done by Shiva and his aides throughout the land of India.
In this installment of the series, Shiva and his companions travel the breadth and length of the country, from Swadeep to Kashi, then to Branga and finally to the land of the Nagas. Shiva learns that he can communicate with the mysterious Vasudev pundits with his mind. Several well-documented geographical attributes of the Indian sub-continent are featured in the story, like the famed Sunderbans.
Sati unearths startling discoveries about her Suryavanshi heritage and discovers several long-lost relatives along the journey. As a result of these, there is a rift between Shiva and Sati for the first time in their entire wedded life.
It portrays a budding romance for the stern Suryavanshi General, Parvateshwar. It is also revealed to Shiva that people he once trusted, have not been so forthcoming to him, and have several secrets to hide, which is left to his to ferret out. In fact, almost everything that Shiva believed to be true earlier, is now exposed to be half-truths, and Shiva is forced to reassess his beliefs once again.
The story definitely has its elements of mystery, when the Maharishi Bhrigu keeps popping up in the story with strange requests for the Suryavanshi and Chandravashi leaders to carry out. This keeps the reader piqued enough to want to know the sinister agenda behind Bhrigu’s illogical demands.
Another interesting aspect of the book is documenting the existence of ligers, in the form of a fatal attack on a Kashi village. After reading about it, I checked out ligers in Wikipedia and it does say that in the ancient past there were legends of the existence of ligers in the wild. Kudos to Amish for having researched his history well, and adding them into the story-mix.
The language of the book is no better than that of The Immortals of Meluha, with the people speaking in perfect English, irrespective of which country they are in. Considering that India is famed for the thousands of languages and dialects spoken all over the country, it is a little hard to believe that Shiva is able to travel all over the country with no need for a translator anywhere. Everyone speaks the same everywhere, be it Kings, soldiers or even an uneducated peasant. I would have liked it better if the author had at the least, infused a few sentences in local languages, just for a change from the boring monotone.
Again, this book irritates me because it jumps straight into the story with no regard whatsoever for someone who might have stumbled upon this book first. There are no explanations whatsoever for what might have transpired in the earlier book (The Immortals of Meluha). The author simply assumes that whoever reads this book would have read the first one as well, and just plunges headlong into the next set of incidents that befall Shiva and his family. So, for someone who sees this book first and considers reading it, I entreat you to not do so; because, you will be completely lost and hate the tale as you have no clue what is going on.
The story is compelling enough to read, and will make the readers clamour for the final book of the trilogy. But as I said before, it has to be read strictly in the Trilogy sequence.