First things first: should you read this book? Well, if you love historical/mythological fiction like one of Dan Brown’s books or the Shiva Trilogy, yes you should.
I don’t know if author Ashwin Sanghi was inspired by The Da Vinci Code or not when he wrote this book, but I see the general skeletal plot so much in accordance with that of DVC. There are symbols, murders, police, mythology and one central professor- Saini (like Langdon). Even the antagonist Taarak Vakil is so much like one of Dan Brown’s antagonists, be it in DVC or in the latest Lost Symbol (Ma’alakh). With the ending, it feels as if nothing happened at all, though there was a lot of chaos in the middle of the book that makes you turn pages (Exactly how you feel after a Dan Brown book). It’s clearly visible that the book involved a lot of research and effort, but the outcome somehow gives the feeling of another Da Vinci Code, the Indian version.
There is one major difference though: Dan Brown claims that the organizations, places, rituals and the practices in all of his books exist (First thing to see in all his books, and that’s the specialty which keeps the reader wondering, giving some hard facts to take home after reading), and Ashwin Sanghi has the disclaimer that all of his work is purely of fiction (Many of us would at least say ‘not all’ though).
Coming to how the book was to read, the idea and the mythological interpretation is pretty impressive, though certain parts of the book seem overly exaggerated. I like the way in which he has related mythology to history- specially radioactivity and shiv lingam, and some of them are strongly debatable. But again, the antagonist Taarak Vakil is not given as much importance as the character deserves, and other characters that support him aren’t as strong as they must have been. And I’m not sure if Saini and Radhika Singh had enough moments together for a relationship at the end of the book.
All in all, I would rate the book to be a hint above average (6 on 10), but had the book not been in the shadows of Da Vinci Code or any of Dan Brown’s books, it certainly would have been one of the best historical thrillers you would read. Ashwin Sanghi joins the likes of Amish Tripathi (Shiva Trilogy) and it’s good to see mythological and historical thrillers coming out in a country like ours that endows abundant inspiration for the same.