Name of the book: The Immortals of Meluha
Genre: Fantasy > Mythology
Book publish year: 2010
Rating (out of 5): 4
1900 BC. In what modern Indians mistakenly call the Indus Valley Civilisation. The inhabitants of that period called it the land of Meluha a near perfect empire created many centuries earlier by Lord Ram, one of the greatest monarchs that ever lived. This once proud empire and its Suryavanshi rulers face severe perils as its primary river, the revered Saraswati, is slowly drying to extinction. They also face devastating terrorist attacks from the east, the land of the Chandravanshis. To make matters worse, the Chandravanshis appear to have allied with the Nagas, an ostracised and sinister race of deformed humans with astonishing martial skills!
The only hope for the Suryavanshis is an ancient legend: When evil reaches epic proportions, when all seems lost, when it appears that your enemies have triumphed, a hero will emerge.
Is the rough-hewn Tibetan immigrant Shiva, really that hero? And does he want to be that hero at all? Drawn suddenly to his destiny, by duty as well as by love, will Shiva lead the Suryavanshi vengeance and destroy evil?
People familiar with the Hinduism, and even some who aren't, would be knowing that there are millions of Gods and Goddesses in Indian mythology. However, one of the three most important of the Indian gods is Lord Shiva, a god who lived an inspirational life for every human being.
The author has humanized Lord Shiva, making him just another mortal, who rose to godhood through his actions by emerging as a savior to a huge empire Meluha, despite being from a simple tribal clan. The portrayal of Shiva is all practical. He gets angry, he smokes, he sings and dances and he curses, aside from fighting. His character, along with all of others, develops throughout the story and series.
And, even though the writing is not exactly good for outside-Indian readers, the author maintains the story so well that the readers will not leave the book alone and forget about it. There will be times when I did end up like 'Who's that?' or 'Boring! Let's skip a little' but the skipping need was for at most half of a page.
Also, there are a large number of not-main characters (not supporting characters but not-main characters because a lot of them have an important influence on the overall story) which would usually bore me but in this case, were well maintained throughout the story. There will be some point of view changes throughout the story but it is alright.
As for the plot, the story progresses as Shiva comes to terms of his being a foretold god and tries to take the burden of the responsibilities he is suddenly given. But all of the story isn't action since the novel also deals with the romance of Shiva and Sati, the Meluhan princess who has troubles of her own. The author tries to explain several parts of mythical stories of Lord Shiva with technical explanations, presenting a view of India that was far more technologically advanced than now, and if you know about them, it is fun to try to spot them. Also, maintaining an equilibrium, not everyone immediately believes Shiva to be a god and he must prove himself to earn their trust.
Then there are the Nagas, the deformed creatures who keep attacking the priests of the temples, throughout the kingdom of Meluha for some reason and a fear echoed by some non-main characters is that an alliance between two of the enemy factions of Meluha exists that can destroy them. Also in the mix is the Somras, a substance that gives the consumer a long life (at the time of meeting, Sati is 170 yrs old), and its secret production facility. And when events take a dark turn, Shiva starts a war that is well detailed and leads to an end that will have you heading for the next book immediately.
All in all, it is a good book and a book worth reading.