I like historical fiction a lot, as it gives us a totally different perspective on the history we read in our school. They normally do open a new window to that period, in which the novel was set. So when #Blogchatter was looking for reviewers for “The Curse of Anuganga“, I immediately grabbed it.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Author: Harini Srinivasan
Publisher: Treeshade Books
Available at: Amazon, GoodReads
This periodic thriller is set in 403 CE, during the reign of Prabhavathi Gupta (the daughter of Chandragupta II). The story takes place in a town named “Nandivardhana”. The main plot of the book revolves around the most famous goldsmith (Vishnuveera) of the town and his son (Shaunaka). Vishnuveera’s team is called to make jewels for the forthcoming weddings of the town. There are two weddings for which Vishnuveera has to make jewelry. One is the royal wedding – the wedding of the crown prince and the other is at the famous businessman’s house. In order, to attend to Royal’s orders, Vishnuveera sends his team along with his son Shanuka to the businessman Vinayashura’s house. The day. his team starts working at Vinayashura’s house, the unimaginable happens and his team comes under the radar of suspects by the local police.
Shaunaka is the main protagonist of the novel, who keeps his cool even in situations that are being ridden with emotions. He shows up far more sobriety and intelligence when compared to his peers. In the beginning, one can see the frustration and his unhappiness as he is tied to the family business, which he feels is not his cup of tea. But his duty towards the family and his father keeps him in that profession.
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But, the chance comes knocking on his door in the form of murder and the royal conspiracies, and he takes with all the new vigor. The reader can feel the subtle changes in his personality and the way he starts helping the local police with his observation skills and conversation skills. His behavior opens the doors for his brother Ashwani also to test the new waters. Whether both of them would follow their dreams and try to solve these mysteries along with the local police or would they stick to their family business are some of the questions that only this book can answer.
Another interesting character of this book is Vishnuveera. Despite being noted as the top-rated goldsmith of the town, his demeanor doesn’t show anything. He is always calm and down to earth. The way he trusts his employees and takes care of them shows his true nature.
The author has just not stopped with the male protagonists. She has developed very strong female characters also in this book. The way she has developed them gives us a rough idea as to how the ladies of the house are always respected in that era.
Considering this is the first historical crime thriller I read, I felt that Harini, has done good justice in this novel. The language she has used is exactly as per that period, including the salutations used by various characters in their conversations.
The fact that I liked in this book is that the author has done an extensive research on the Gupta’s and Vakataka’s period. She has used the real characters very effectively and beautifully into the story, that it gives the reader the feel that this story has really happened during that time.
Regarding the pace of the book – This book starts with really a good pace and gets into the thick of the plot almost immediately. But the reader gets a little lost in the middle when Harini tries to tie both the conspiracies together and make it work. That’s the place where the reader might get the feeling that this book is dragging. But for a history buff like me, I am involved with the other details of the book that I never realized that the pace of the story has slowed down.
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The cover page has hardly done its justice to this book and the mysteries that this story is set to solve. Maybe the author could come up with a better cover page for the second edition of the book.
About the Author:
An aficionado of literature, history, and dance, Harini Srinivasan has found innovative ways of bringing her passions to her work. She also has to her credit a children’s book “The Wizard Tales – Adventures of Bun-Bun” (now into its second print). Along the way, she undertook different roles (Civil Servant, Project Manager, Communications Professional, and Editor) across countries (India, Germany, and the Netherlands). A doting mother of a 10-year-old son, Harini Srinivasan lives with her family in Gurgaon.
You can follow her at:
Twitter: Harini Srinivasan
LinkedIn: Harini Srinivasan