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Book Review: Tarikshir (The Awakening) by Khayaal Patel

Tarikshir is the first novel by Khayaal Patel and it looks like that he’s nailed his position as a prolific writer in the Indian literature arena, with the results already out. He now stands out from warts-and-all sort, because words are out that he is a promising writer. Why? Well, there are many reasons that you get to believe after reading the novel. Though, the foremost is blending of three genres into one powerful plot. Another great aspect is that the way, it sounds subtly, author has transformed one era to another or one genre into next one is commendable. So, broadly putting Tarikshir by the debut author Khayaal Patel is a heady mixture of mythological, historical and fantasy. Hurray three into one!

The story commences with Valikesh, a gibbon from Hanuman’s army. After the final war of the Ramayana with Rama as a winner, the monkey army of Hanuman is taking rounds in the kingdom of Ravana. Valikesh has joined the army to plunder the treasure after the war and is busy collecting treasure from the deserted palace. But soon he comes across a powerful gem and next he is found dead by his fellow soldiers. The gem that he discovered was a powerful one – so much powerful that it can create havoc in the world.

Next, we see another era. It is Nineteenth century and the hold of East India Company has almost taken over the entire country. And there this Rajput state Devangarh. At this point, the novel gets into the lives of Rajput kings and their traditional pride that they have learnt to maintain. The British Empire is excited to have the state of Devangarh under its hood by any means. On the other side, its King Ravinder, in defiance, has taken the oath not to surrender. He will prefer to die than becoming the slave of British. However, not all people in his kingdom are receptive for war and bloodshed, including his own son Rudra Pratap Chauhan.

Well, just before the war, in one of the out of blue ambushes, Raja Ravinder is assumed being killed. Rudra Pratap not only takes the charge of the kingdom but also vows to find the killer of his father. As the young and inexperienced prince sets on a tumultuous journey, his first suspect is his own uncle Shamsher Singh – he leads the outlaws and lives in a mysterious fortress named ‘The Red Tiger’. From the journals of his grandfather, Rudra gets the knowledge about ‘The Red Tiger’ fortress’ dark secrets. As he infiltrates into that fortress, Rudra comes up face to face with demons and hidden powers and so on.

After this major part of the novel takes place in and around this enigmatic, danger-lurking fortress. It is ironical to see that instead of fighting the British army, Rudra and his men get into tussling with the ghosts and demons like wind Asura, hideous snake, zombies, etc. This part of the novel moves at a brisk pace but totally filled with awe and action.

As event after event, dark secrets gets exposed, it comes out to the world that a few mastermind people are lusting after the awakening of Tarikshir for the sake of glory and power. Thus, Rudra’s struggle to find those people and stop them fills the rest of the narration and in his long course he comes across a number of enigmatic characters, some loyal while many deceptive. A thrilling situation arrives when the protagonist Rudra gets into the dilemma of trusting people. Well, this confusion leads up to a higher dose of thrill in the overall plot. Readers will be excited to know about the final blow of Rudra.

Well-written and well-edited, despite having a cast of characters, Tarikshir is an interesting novel with mixed genres which will keep readers hooked up till the last page. Narration, plot, story and characterization all have been brought forward with a touch of perfection, and for a debut writer achieving this feat is somehow difficult, well Khayaal has done it like a pro. Convincingly, Tarikshir is a five-star read.


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