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The author of “The Rozabel Line” rose to popularity with his debut novel, but it was his second novel “Chanakya’s Chant” which made the world turn its attention towards him ! Another winning novel from him is “The Krishna Key”. Ashwin proves his mettle yet again with an intoxicating combination of fiction and history, just that, maybe he takes it a bit too far this time.
His style of presenting each chapter with both the past and the present works as always (atleast to me!). His protagonist, Ravi Mohan Saini touches a chord somewhere within us and connects well with the readers. Maybe he is described a little too much as a know-it-all, but that works too! The entire Mahabaratha is brought out in Lord Krishna’s point of view along with its present day comparison. As the novel processes, one begins to wonder whether Krishna was indeed the person, one has imagined him to be! But Ashwin definitely makes us want to get back to our roots and delve deeper into them. His portrayal of India and it’s culture makes one feel proud to be an Indian.
A plethora of characters are brought to life, while at the same time, a crystal clear clarity is prevalent, leaving no chance for confusion between one character and the other. The plot revolves around the historian Ram Mohan Saini, who is accused of murder and theft of an artifact, which will bring about an earth shattering revelation to the world. The police is hot on his trail while disasters seem to follow him as well. Another unknown group is after him too. Why? Is he innocent? If so, who is the guilty party? Why is another group searching for the artifact? What is this world shattering revelation? Above all, what does Lord Krishna have to do with it? He is sacrosanct, or isn’t he? Read the novel to find out more, but beware, you do have to go on till the very last page to find out exactly what the “Krishna Key” leads to!
The number of characters could get over your head, but the filament that connects it all, is strong as iron. The connection between history and the current events and the depiction of the characters, makes you doubt whether the book is a piece of fiction after all! And Taarak Vaakil seems to have been plucked from a Dan Brown novel and added to this one. The climax does become more of an anti-climax after all the importance given to the “key” that once you finish the book, you turn back a few pages to check whether you have missed an explanation of the “key” ! But the last minute twists are an interesting addition.
Compared to his previous novels, Krishna Key seems to be a bit of a letdown, but as a standalone, the novel is a worth a read – once ! Not the type that you would revisit again and again and definitely not to be read when in a light hearted mood. Instead, it would make a good “I’m bored, I have nothing to do and I want some Indian style Dan Brown drama” novel !