Title: Chronicler of the Undead
Author: Mainak Dhar
Price: 250.00 INR
Publisher: Westland Ltd
I picked up Mainak Dhar’s ‘Chronicler of the Dead’ amidst much trepidation. Though I had never read a novel about zombies before, I had the misfortune of enduring ‘Go Goa Gone’ a few years back. Naturally I was apprehensive. But both the writer and his book have surprised me. I’m no longer scared of reading zombie fictions. Oops! Did that come out wrong? Horror fictions are supposed to give us goose bumps but here I am saying that I’m no longer scared! What I meant was that I’m no longer averse to reading this particular genre. Thanks to Mr. Dhar. He has done quite well in writing a zombie fiction.
The book revolves around a zombie apocalypse in Gangtok with a sole survivor who documents his days in a journal for a posterity that even he is unsure of. From his journal entries we get a peek into the background of our protagonist, of his days in the Army and his buried ambition of becoming a writer. It is clear that he would rather be dead drunk than fighting the dead. But with a diminishing amount of alcohol and a city teeming with zombies, he has little choice. And of course there’s an instinct for survival at the face of every odd. So our hero jots down all that he does during the day and drinks himself to sleep while watching the zombies below. One night out of sheer desperation he takes a painful trip to the city below for more rations. All this time the zombies, aka the Morekos, had not bothered him but now they struggle up the winding path to get at him. A battle of sorts ensues where he avoids getting killed initially because of his military training and wit. Just when he has run out of ammunition and knows for sure that he’d be zombie food, he is rescued by a couple of armed gentlemen who are a part of a much bigger community in hiding. What follows is a disaster in the making and soon the undead are not the only enemy that he has.
The language of the novel makes for a fantastic read. There’s humour and there’s wit. The narrative is easy to follow and keep track with short chapters. There aren’t too many characters and yet amidst the gore the author has managed to explore human emotions brilliantly. He has also thrown in a little romance for good measure. Sarcasm and witty remarks render the plot a likable touch. While reading it I was reminded of another movie I had watched and liked – Zombieland. Dhar has clearly plucked a few leaves from this zombie comedy. There are marked similarities but that doesn’t make the book any less desirable.
That said, I did enjoy reading the book and I’m sure all those who love dystopian fictions would most certainly enjoy this book. I’m going with a three out of five.
Mainak Dhar is a cubicle dweller by day and author by night. His first ‘published’ work was a stapled collection of maths solutions and poems (he figured nobody would pay just for his poems) which he sold to his classmates in grade 7, and spent the proceeds on ice cream and comics. Since then, he has gone on to be a bestselling author, momentarily becoming the #1 horror author on amazon in march 2013, surpassing stephen king. He has seventeen books to his credit, including the bestselling alice in deadland series, which is being made into a television series in the United States.
I'd like to thank author Mainak Dhar for letting me review his book. I do hope you end up liking the book when you read it. Thank you so much for stopping by, and happy reading!
(Picture courtesy: Amazon.in)