Immortal by Krishna Udayasankar is an amazing adventurous tale set in different parts of the Indian subcontinent. The story told in this book unfolds in such a way that readers get hooked to the plot from the first page itself. Additionally, the author keeps the readers thoroughly engaged with an interesting and engaging plot. The story has been written brilliantly and the book exudes an old-world charm. The author has handled both reality and fantasy with equal ease.
The story in this book is set against the backdrop of labyrinthine passages in Gujarat, mesmerizing Ghats of Varanasi, beautiful mountains of Nilgiri and endless desserts of Pakistan. These locations make the book a visual treat. The book follows Professor Bharadvaj in his quest to not only find a historical artifact (a mythical weapon) of vast importance, but also to unearth the incredible alchemical properties associated with this artifact. Along the way, Professor Bharadvaj and his companions faces a number of daunting tasks. The story strikes a chord with the readers as it acts as a way of living vicariously. One could visit places described in the book in his/her mind, while sitting comfortably by the fire.
While there is no doubt that the plot of this book is an interesting one, I found characters more attractive than the plot. These characters have been crafted with great deal of care and attention. The main lead of this book is Asvatthama or Professor Bharadvaj. Yes, you guessed it right. This is the same Asvatthama, who was a part of the Mahabharata. Son of Dronacharaya and Duryodhana’s friend, Asvatthama played a vital role in the epic. Suffering with a curse of eternal life at the end of the Mahabharata, Asvatthama is very much alive and is working as a blustering Indian Jones in the present world. Though professor Bharadvaj does not think himself as another version of Indiana Jones, he certainly acts like one. Instead of wielding swords, he is using new-age weapons in this book. The story has been narrated from his point of view. There are a number of other important characters in this book and each one of them has been characterized strongly and judiciously. Each of these characters is imbued with depth and complexity. Maya Jervois, Manohar and Hari are some of these characters.
In fact, the book is more than just an interesting story. It speaks of a number of complex issues. The philosophical exchanges among different characters are one of the other noteworthy highlights of the book under review. It will not be wrong to say that a certain sort of philosophical quest has been an essential part of this book. These philosophical musings raise a number of questions in readers’ mind. This book appears to be a result of a lot of research work. The author has worked really hard on facts. You get references of both scientific and historical sources. The book, in a way, seems to educate readers more than to just amuse or entertain them.
Give this book a chance. You will certainly not get disappointed.