How do you over come a heartbreak that one book gives you by going way below your expectations or if it turns totally sad? I usually read another book on the exact same subject hoping that it will bail me out, so far it has worked out pretty well. Last week I read Anand Neelakantan’s “Ajaya: Roll of the Dice” and was totally put off by the way he made the entire Kuru clan a huge villain just to make his protagonist “Suyodhan” a hero. It turned me off so badly that I was on the lookout for another book on the same subject (Mytho Fiction) so I could get away from it’s sad memory and Rajesh M Iyer came out to my rescue by sending his book “Evading the Shadows” based on the adventurous one year of “Agyaatvas” by Pandav brothers as they place the deadly game of hide and seek with Kaurava’s. What a superb read this one turned out, a total cat and mouse chase game. Right from the very first page to the very end, it was able to keep me engaged, thrilled and on the edge of my seat. The best part is that even when I already knew the outcome, it had that magic that for quite a few moments I expected it other way round too. Another reason why this book was able to keep a smile on my face throughout was that I have a weird habit of looking forward to the use of title in the story if it happens to be a unique one as it is in this book’s case. I kept reading with a keen eye as how many times he is going to use the word Evade or Evading and he didn’t disappoint me by precisely using it (Only) five times 🙂 (just too good).
As I said earlier too quite a few times that Mahabharat and Ramayan are two most loved epics from our part of the world and every-time a new book comes out, it excites me to imagine how and what the Author must have done to make it more exciting for the reader. And with that hope I have read so many books on both that I will be completing a sort of PhD in next coming few months by reading the last of the few books which are highly recommended on the subject that I am yet to read. Now this one straight goes up my recommendation list especially for those who loved the “Mahabharat” in totally new light concentrating on that one year of Agyaatvas 🙂 as Rajesh has turned it into a superb thriller. As Pandav brothers go in hiding in hiding for one year with their wife Draupadi, the game of cate and mouse chase starts. Both the teams have their own set of spies helping them uncover for Kaurava’s and keep them in hiding by helping them from Pandava’s supporters. Now, with five brothers, one wife and the team of Duryodhan, Shakuni, Dushasan, Karn and Yuyutusu in toes, there are at-least more then half a dozen tracks running parallel to keep the reader totally hooked. The pace of the book was so superb that I actually had a great time keeping up with it. Every para would throw a twist my way and before I could go on with anything else in life, I had to read its repercussions or get a closure before moving on or else I would keep on thinking how they are must have handled the problem?. Very smartly indeed the Author has handled all the episodes from that time period to make them a part of his own retelling. I never expected it to be this superb, although the book is no way short from any angle (350+ pages) but it never feels that long.
Take a bow Rajesh, this is your second book that I have read and I am totally hoping that you are writing more as I post this 🙂 as I will be more than keen to read what you come out next with. For those who haven’t read this or his earlier work (Hari and Friends – A Holi Adventure), both the books are terrific read(s) and not to be missed. I am surprised that I never saw any mention of this one specially but I hope it gets its due in due course of time. Oh! and before I forget to mention as you can see from the image that its cover too is simply superb 🙂 as its a bit dark you will have to look closely for the Pandav brothers with Draupadi evading the shadows :).