Price: 395 INR
“Intelligent and comprehensive with enough narrative to support another installment.”
-Kirkus Review, International acclaimed book review agency
‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’
With John 1:1’s phrase begins my rather weak journey with Clark Prasad’s ‘Baramulla Bomber’. I have to admit I was sceptical about reading something like science-fiction, which was miles away from my comfort zone. And after this experience, I very much doubt I’d like to give something like this a shot again.
Clark Prasad, better known as Suraj Prasad, is a pharmacist with a management degree. ‘Baramulla Bomber’ is his debut novel. He got introduced to the world of reading and writing with Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’. A big fan of the mysteries of the universe, he wanted to be an archaeologist or an astronaut during his childhood days. Fortunately or unfortunately, life had something else planned for him.
The author has requested reviewers to not let out any key plot-points or conversations that’d spoil the novel for the readers, so I shall try to make this as subtle as possible. The ‘Svastik Trilogy’ is a series of three books, out of which one has been written and published. The second part of this trilogy is titled ‘The Consultant: Shopno Paradox’ and will be out in the market soon. The book begins on a fast note of mystery and events, slows down in the middle, but manages to catch its pace again towards the end. There is great use of quotations from Vedas and the Bible alike.
The story contains multifaceted characters, a few of whom fall flat before the end of their journey. A cricketer from Kashmir by the name of Mansur Haider, his girlfriend Aahana Yajurvedi who is leading a mountaineering team into the mysterious Shaksgam Valley. In reality, the valley is a region in Kashmir- it is a highly inhospitable place. Even today, India claims the land as part of the unified state of Jammu and Kashmir. Investigating Mansur is a Swedish intelligence officer, Adolf Silfverskiold.
The author badly wants to answer the questions of the universe. How was the universe created? How important is archaeoastronomy to us? Is everything pre-destined or can we control our future?
While calling itself the world’s first ever techno mythology thriller might be too long a shot, the author has to be commended for the work he carried out in the due course of this novel. For an Indian author to make this kind of effort (especially in the age of Ravinder Singh and Chetan Bhagat), go and do the research and come up with a satisfying result is nothing short of extraordinary. As I could see it, a plus point of the book is the illustrations, edgy maps and the transcripts that hold on the reader’s attention while reading. Truth be told, reading sci-fi isn’t my cup of tea. I’d rather sit by the window with a fantasy adventure in my hand and a cup of hot chocolate in the other. At the same time, I am divided about the ride this thriller gave me, but the effort that goes into making a novel of this scale and composure has to be appreciated. Maybe, when I reopen it on a rainy day, my perspective shall change.
Overall Rating: 5/10
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