“Your journey now sleeps with your great awakening”. Does the line seem to have been pinched out of some boring, old incomprehensible religious text? Not if Satyarth Nayak holds his pen with confidence and smiles calmly as the readers feel the hair at the back of their neck, rising, as they flip the pages of his debut novel- The Emperor’s Riddles. An alumnus of St. Stephen’s, Satyarth proves his genius as his tale marries Amish Tripathi with Dan Brown; and that’s not all- a careful read might find you discovering generous helpings of the Bhagwat Gita as well!
So, to start with, The Emperor’s Riddles is essentially a thriller that grips you like a vice but in the process, makes you feel amazed and enlightened too, if you are patient enough. Shuttling between time periods, the narrative may seem a bit convoluted in the initial chapters but that’s just Satyarth tying a cloth over your eyes and shoving you in circles before you become the blind man looking for his buff. Historian Ram Mathur is brutally murdered on the banks of the Ganga. What follows after that fateful night is a journey that Om Patnaik, an esoteric writer, is never going to forget. Mathur’s daughter Sia receives an e-mail after her father’s death and then begins Om’s quest for the vast unknown. There is a cult of theological practitioners who aspire to help humanity through an ancient secret that has been kept under wraps since ages. It’s a secret so extra-ordinary, “an enigma so powerful that even Gods would kill for it”! But there is also a certain scorpion on the loose and he is hell bent to take on the scepter of might that the mystic secret has in store. There is an emperor in another dimension who has his control over nature; he too must surrender to the ultimate truth or else must witness the entire human race succumb to the feet of evil. Ably guided by Parag Suri, Om and Sia become our very own Robert Langdon and Sophie on the hunt for answers. Answers to the Emperor’s riddles.
At 398 pages, the book is replete with intense intellect, racy action and unfathomable revelations. The portion where Mathur is murdered may have the faint hearted flinch at the blood and gore it unfolds. And there is a shock twist towards the end that makes you feel so ignorant in front of the immensely knowledgeable British Council Writers Circle Prize winner, Satyarth Nayak.
Well woven with history and imagination, Nayak is at the helm, deftly pulling at the strings and making the reader dance to his tunes. Nowhere does he use ornate sentences, neither a complicated syntax. But the way he writes lucidly on the spiritual, makes his already enriches content all the more effective. A Christopher Nolan of the West or our very own Anurag Kashyap can pretty well give it a thought to bring The Emperor’s Riddles to life on screen.
I could have written more and gone on writing but that would be trying too hard to explain a conjurer’s maneuvering of his hat and still getting nowhere! With eager expectations for your next, way to go, Satyarth Nayak. You should be blessed with nine lives. Not to meow, but to simply roar! (Spoiler Alert!)
|Publisher:||Amaryllis||Year of Publication:||2014|
|Cover:||Paperback||No. Of Pages:||406|
|MRP:||Rs. 299||Buy From:||Flipkart.com