Title: The Guardians Of The Halahala
Author: Shatrujeet Nath
Publisher: Jaico Publishing House
In the first installment of a proposed trilogy, Shatrujeet Nath weaves a fabulous tapestry of myth and legend by bringing together two of the oft told stories relating to Lord Shiva and king Vikramaditya. The two stories that I’m referring to include the legend of how Lord Shiva came to be the Neelkanth and king Vikramaditya’s association with the pichasa, Vetaal. As children we all got to hear these two stories.
So what makes Nath’s story stand out? How does he connect two very different stories to make one? ‘The Guardians of the Halahala’ links two legends wherein Lord Shiva hands over a dagger containing a minute portion of the deadly poison Halahala to Vikramaditya for safekeeping. Halahala, as we already know, was churned out of the White Ocean by devas and asuras in the wake of finding the immortal elixir of life, Amrita. It was a potent poison with the capacity to annihilate even gods and demons. To save the universe from a pathetic end, Lord Shiva drank the poison and held it in his throat. Thus far the story is almost known to us. What we don’t know and which Nath fabricates for furthering his plot is that a minute portion of the poison remains in the custody of humans. Here is when Vikramaditya comes into the equation.
These storylines are not as separate as I am making them sound—in fact, one of the most distinctive things about Nath’s yarn is how it fuses these independent stories as though they are feeding into and from each other. Then there are a few subplots. Of Hunas and Shakas invading the Indian soil. Of internal strife between kings and vassals. A lot happens within the pages of this book. It is a page-turner indeed.
It has everything going for it—prose that beautifully encapsulates both the fantastic and the historic; deft storytelling that folds and combines myth, and legend into one; and a strong focus on relationships between devas, asuras and humans. In addition: a thrilling plot that holds the promise of delivering a wonderful series.
I can only imagine how far high Shatrujeet Nath will inevitably fly within the mythology field in the coming years and I will most definitely be there to follow it.
About the Author:
Door-to-door salesman, copywriter, business journalist and assistant editor at the Economic Times, Shatrujeet Nath was all this before he took to writing fiction full-time. He debuted with the Karachi Deception in 2013, followed by the Guardians of the Halahala and the Conspiracy at Meru, the first two books in the Vikramaditya series. At present, he is writing volume three of the series. Shatrujeet lives in Mumbai, but spends much of his time in the fantasy worlds of his stories. He can also be found at facebook.com/Shatrujeet Nath.
I'd like to thank the author 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!
* I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
** Picture courtesy: Amazon.in