In today’s times, where we hear elders saying all the time that we youngsters are away from our heritage more than ever before, The Krishna Key proves to be a game changer.
‘Krishna was the eighth Avatar of Vishnu – a manifestation of a form of energy that we shall call Vish. The exact opposite energy of Vish is Shiv. While Vish, creates and preserves, Shiv destroys. They are the two faces of same coin.’ With this punch line, The Krishna Key, an anthropological thriller, beautifully weaves together history, mythology, geography and suspense. Written by author Ashwin Sanghi, who wowed us with his historical saga Chanakya’s Chant, this book is bound to keep you on the edge of your chair.
The plot of the book revolves around Ravi Mohan Saini, a historian who has been accused of murdering his friend. To prove his innocence, he escapes from jail and relies on a student to help him. As he digs deeper into the murder, he is led to an ancient seal that belongs to the Harappan civilization, which when brought together with its three other parts apparently discloses the location of a precious stone that is Lord Vishnu’s legacy to the mankind. A man who believes himself to be Vishnu’s tenth incarnation- Kalki is after the treasure. For Saini, this is a race against time as he has to stop the mystery man before he murders his other friends who have the remaining parts of the seal and at the same time elude capture by the police. As he delves further, he is shocked to know that the person he had trusted throughout was the mastermind of the entire conspiracy. He however finds the most unlikely ally in a police officer, who assists him, while putting her own life on the line.
The life story of Lord Krishna in the background and the travel to the ruins of his city Dwarka and the Vrindavan Temples, perfectly blend mythology with history. The author has traced the lineage of Lord Krishna, not in the conventional chronological form but as a story that will actually engage even those who do not have an interest in the timeless epics of India. The author has created different levels of mystery and as each layer unfolds, history is perfectly juxtaposed with fiction. One highlight of the novel is the use of the number 108- the number represents the universe (the distance between the earth and the sun is exactly 108 times the sun’s diameter, the distance between earth and moon is 108 times the diameter of the moon, the sun’s diameter is 108 times the diameter of the earth), names of Krishna, the gopis of Vrindavan and a lot more.
The book although fiction is a well-researched piece of work. The author read more than 50 books and papers before writing the book and he has constructed the plot so cleverly that the reader actually wonders if there is a lost treasure with magical powers hidden in the Taj Mahal. Sanghi has achieved the perfect balance between fact and fiction and manages to keep the reader hooked on throughout the 500 pages filled with mythology, history and thrill. The plot is non-controversial and uncomplicated, which is one of the biggest positives of the book.
While reading through the book, Dan Brown fans are bound to get a feeling that the plot presents a slow and simple version of the Da Vinci Code. This is one of the very negatives of the book. Although the plot seems to be loosely based on a Dan Brown thriller, it fails to give the reader that adrenaline rush because the protagonist seems to lose track of the impending catastrophe while being engrossed in tales of mythology. Another faltering point is the disappointing end of the book. When the reader expects the thrill to be at its peak, the story ends in a limbo leaving the reader clueless as to the existence of the priceless treasure.
However, the book is a must read for those who love cryptic thrillers and at the same time anyone who considers history and mythology dry subjects must also skim through a few pages to discover how these themes can actually keep them absorbed.