Book Review: Agniputr by Vadhan

When curses and quantum physics mingle to tingle the mind, a fantasy thriller is born.

Words: Ambica Gulati

A demon to most of us but God to the tantriks, the energy born of blood, hair and dead body has risen to bring power to the one who knew the formula to awaken it. Well, the book begins on an pacy and gory note, with tantrik kriyas bringing alive a phenomenon that could destroy the world but is power for only one man. There is a lot of drama and action in Agniputr. And it appeals to the Indian sensibility with its spirituality, gory tales of finding power through the dead, aghoris eating human flesh. And villages which thrive on such tales. After all, India is the mystical country with its supernatural phenomenon.

The book is a mix of royalty, old zamindars, people with values and then the quantum physicists and scientists who belong the 21st century. The sutram is a womb of energy which has the potential to cause an apocalypse. And this sutram has been reigned in and kept under check for years and years by the crippled rajah Surya. And then comes Sheila, a scientist, who happens to get to know about the energy here through a colleague. And the sutram has been responsible for many calamities in that area, including the lives of many.

The plot is well woven, the language is simple and the chapters grip. The tale moves between a lot of 21st century drama, and old world myths and tales. There is science and spiritual mix, there are politicians and secrets, there are misunderstandings, overall it is a tale of drama and the way India of today is living off its ancient spiritual traditions. The emotions o greed, ambition, power, evil versus good are prevalent throughout. And the then the ultimate sacrifice for love.

However, the fantasy tends to give away in the last two chapters. The protagonist becomes a Bollywood stereotype and uses the age-old trick of dressing like a pandit to find the real answer. But the romantic in me is fiercely disappointed when the hero dies and his love lives on with her husband bearing his child. Here fantasy becomes more real life and the saga of evil energy, tantriks, families in pain, quest for one man’s power to rule the world all fade away. Perhaps I had wanted to see the saga find an ‘endless end’ where it could leave me more room for fantasies. But all in all, a book which will please those who have lots of room for the invisible sources in their life.

Book details at
Price: Rs 209
Paperback: 364 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury India 


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