Book Review : The Guardians of the Halahala

The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.

Shatrujeet Nath has sold ice-creams, peddled computer training courses, written ad copy, and reported on business as a journalist and assistant editor at The Economic Times. His first book, The Karachi Deception, was published in 2013. The Guardians of the Halahala, his second book, and the first in The Vikramaditya Trilogy series, was published in 2014. At present, he is writing The Conspiracy at Meru, the second volume of the trilogy. When he is not writing, he can be seen reading or playing with his daughter – or daydreaming of buying a small castle in Scotland.

To be honest, the first time I heard about this author was when one of my friends nominated me in a lucky draw to win The Guardians of Halahala as a prize. To my utter surprise, I won the contest and Shatrujeet sent across a cop of the book.

I was mighty impressed with the cover design and upon reading the blurb, could not wait to begin reading it. The author has managed to merge history and mythlogy well enough, leaving the reader asking for more. The story begins at the SamudraManthan where the devas and asuras have assembled to churn out the nectar of immortality or the amrit. What they mistook as amrit was actually the deadly poison Halahala. While Shiva managed to save the world by consuming that poison, a portion of it might have been sneaked away by someone who understood the power of the Halahala. Guarding the Halahala was entrusted to Samrat Vikramaditya of Avanti. Meanwhile he finds himself embroiled in both human and supernatural conflicts. The Hunas and Sakas are looking out for invading the Sindhuvarta; while the devas and asuras are competing against each other to lay their hands on the Halahala. The struggles of a mere mortal while having to safeguard something from the supernatural forces and while having to deal with political and personal issues makes up the rest of the book. The reader is leftwondering what happens afterwards, whether the Halahala is finally and forever out of reach of the devas and asuras and whether Avanti manages to sustain itself and whether Vishakha, the queen ever wakes up from her comatose sleep.

The author’s writing style is engrossing and there is not a single dull moment in the story. The reader feels transported to the scenes in the story and are fully involved. I highly recommend The Guardians of the Halahala and can’t wait for the release of The Conspiracy at Meru – the second part of the Vikramaditya trilogy.

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