crime thriller

Fantasy in Death - J.D. Robb

10:22:00 PM


FANTASY IN DEATH
an Eve Dallas novel

ISBN - 978-0-7499-4073-7
FIRST PRINTED - 2010
PAGES - 344
BINDING - Paperback
GENRE - Crime/Thriller

AUTHOR - J.D. Robb

BEST-SELLERS - Naked in Death, Glory in Death

SYNOPSIS - They had been best friends since the early days, driven by one shared vision - to rule the world of virtual reality games. Cill, hard-edged and strikingly beautiful, Var and Benny, with the brains and business acumen, and Bart, the genius behind the idea who is backing the company with every last penny he owns. Their newest invention, refined to transport the player into a fantastical virtual world, is just about to be launched.

Then, suddenly, Bart is found brutally killed, seemingly defeated by the dark side of their secret masterpiece. Their close knit group is torn apart. Who could have engineered a virtual death with such devastating consequences? Even Eve Dallas, New York City's most tenacious investigator, is hard-pressed for an answer. But as she digs deeper behind the flashy facade of the gaming world, she finally sees the killer's master plan and she knows his game is far from over.

EXCERPT - He turned into the next strike, blocking it, and he felt a wrenching pop in his shoulder. He nearly called for a pause in the program, but he was too busy dodging a swipe.

What the hell, he thought as he struck out and nearly got by Manx's guard, winning wasn't winning until you worked for it.

"Your woman will be mine before nightfall," Manx snarled.

"She'll dance on your ---- hey!" His sword slipped, and his enemy's blade sliced his arm. Instead of a quick jolt to mark the hit, the pained seared. "What the hell. Pause ---"

But for Bart, it was game over.

FL Speak - Fantasy in Death is one of the long running thriller novels in the 'In Death' series created by Nora Roberts who writes this series in the pseudonym of J.D. Robb. Of the 30 novels in the 'In Death' series, ALL of them have been best-sellers!

In this novel, Eve Dallas is called to the crime scene where the head honcho at U-Play, a game company, was found murdered. Well not murdered, he was beheaded, at his own house, in his own holographic room while apparently playing a game. As Eve investigates, she notes that nothing is out of order. Upon deep scanning the logs of the house and the house droid, it becomes clear that the murderer was nowhere near the victim in the time of his death. And yet, he was beheaded with a sword and the instrument of the killing was nowhere to be found.

Eve interrogates his partners at U-Play and comes to know that the Bart, the victim, was well loved and they had plans to launch a new game into the market that would change the gaming world forever. But without the motive of the killer, Eve finds it extremely difficult to solve the murder. And without the weapon, the case has become a lot more complicated. As Eve and her cops solve the puzzling murder one at a time, out comes the shocker that Bart was murdered while still in the game. And that also the latest game that is yet to be launched by U-Play. With a definite lead to go on and as Eve works her way up the puzzle, the killer strikes again. This time its Cill though she barely managed to escape. Will Eve brave the menacing virtual world that has almost killed two people and emerge victorious or will she succumb to the unlimited possibilities in the world of gaming as lines between virtual reality and reality finally vanish.

Awesome concept and execution by J.D. Robb. The first half and the last half of the novel are filled with action and explosive material. The story becomes mundane in the middle pages though it recovers well enough. If you like thrillers, this is one for you. Although i won't say this is a must read.

My Rating - 3 stars

PRICE - INR 225/- [Flipkart Price]

Brandon Sanderson

Elantris - Brandon Sanderson

6:07:00 AM


ELANTRIS

ISBN - 978-0-7653-5037-4
FIRST PRINTED - 2005
PAGES - 622
BINDING - Paperback
GENRE - Fantasy

AUTHOR -
Brandon Sanderson

BEST-SELLERS -
the Mistborn Trilogy, The Way of Kings

SYNOPSIS - Elantris was the city of the gods. What power could have cursed it?

Raoden, prince of Arelon, was loved by all, including the princess he'd never met.
Where has he gone?

Hrathen, high priest of Fjordell, will convert the people of Arelon or kill them.
How will he decide?

Sarene, princess of Teod, was a widow before she was ever married.
Who can stand against her?

EXCERPT - Elantris was beautiful once. It was called the city of the gods: a place of power, radiance and magic. Visitors say that the very stones glowed with an inner light, and that the city contained wondrous arcane marvels. At night, Elantris shone like a great silvery fire, visible even from a great distance.

Yet, as magnicifient as Elantris was, its inhabitants were more so. Their hair a brilliant white, their skin an almost metallic silver, the Elantrians seemed to shine like the city itself.

And anyone could become one.

The Shaod, it was called. The Transformation. It struck randomly - usually at night, during the mysterious hours when life slowed to rest. The Shaod could take beggar, craftsmen, nobleman, or warrior. When it came, the fortunate person's life ended and began anew; he would discard his old, mundane existence, and move to Elantris. Elantris, where he could live in bliss, rule in wisdom, and worshiped for eternity.

Eternity ended ten years ago.

FL Speak -
THIS!! This is what real fantasy is all about! Brandon Sanderson's debut novel. One of the finest novel of fantasy written in many, many years! And this is even before he wrote the Mistborn trilogy.

The above excerpt is one of the most powerful lines in the book and its in the very first page. Elantris starts with one helluva beginning.

Elantris is (or rather) was a city. The people who lived there were more or less like Gods. They had huge power, they were never cruel, they could heal themselves and they helped the people who seeked their guidance and help (most of the times, for free). And then, Elantris fell. More like it decayed. The chosen ones started growing splotches and dark patches on their skin, their hair fell off, it looked like they were all cursed. The transformation happened sudden in all the cases.

Ten years after the fall of Elantris, Prince Raoden woke up from his usual sleep and noticed that he had been chosen. His father, the King of Arelon, exiles him to the walled city of Elantris where all the cursed are put whenever one is chosen and informed his court and subjects that the prince died of an illness. Enter Princess Sarene of Teod, betrothed to the prince and even before ever meeting him, she has been told that she is now a widow.

At the same time, a high priest of Fjordell, sent to convert the people of Arelon into his religion before his ruler conquers the city. I have a kind of love-hate relationship with this guy because at times he is brilliant in his execution of plans and at times he is plain stupid to see the truth and makes me exasperated! Very soon, Sarene realizes that the rule of the king is waning and she decides to save the city before it falls on itself and be easy prey for the coming war. Back at Elantris, Raoden befriends a stranger and together they manage to save people from the ruling gangs and start a peaceful life before they are hit by the game of shift in ruling powers played by Sarene and the high priest, Hrathen.

I so, so, so badly want to reveal more about the plot but it would be an absolute disaster if i let everything out. This book is meant to be read. Who said fantasy needs to be in series or trilogies? Sanderson does a stellar job of packing an explosive plot in one single volume. I simply loved the way Sanderson created the character of Hrathen. A villain with a conscience is something of a rarity. The only mini drawback that i could find was the Prince Raoden's character reminded me a lot of Elend Venture from the 'Mistborn' trilogy. Same character setting, both being a do-gooder who relies on faith and a pure heart in others. That's a good thing about Sanderson's heroes. They are instantly loveable. But they are also a bit repetitive. Like Vin (mistborn), the character of Princess Sarene is also somewhat same. Sanderson like his female characters to be strong. Hell, even we like reading about them.

Move over George R.R Martin or Terry Brooks, Brandon Sanderson is fast becoming one of my favorite fantasy authors along with Robert Jordan and Tad Williams. Every book of his is a must read. I already reviewed his epic Mistborn trilogy. Read it HERE.

My Rating - 4.5 stars

E-Book link - click on ----> ELANTRIS

PRICE - INR 309/- from Tor Publications [Flipkart Price]

giveaways

Diwali Giveaway

7:00:00 AM

image courtesy: www.visualphotos.com




ITS OFFICIAL. ALOP proudly presents you its first GIVEAWAY. And we have four awesome books to choose from. 

This giveaway is limited to residents of the subcontinent of INDIA.
[We will go international soon. I promise]

Click HERE to read more

Fantasy

House of Night - Awakened (Book 8)

9:42:00 PM

Rephaim!
(I love this UK version of cover!)

AWAKENED: Book Eight of House of Night Series

AUTHOR(S): P.C.Cast and Kristin Cast

Read the Reviews of previous books in the Series ------->Here<-----

SYNOPSIS (From the Book Cover): Exonerated by the Vampyre High Council and returned to her position of High Priestess at Tulsa's House of Night, Neferet has sworn vengeance on Zoey. But Zoey has found sanctuary on the Isle of Skye and is being groomed by Queen Sgiach to take over for her there. Being Queen would be cool, wouldn't it? And what about Stevie Rae and Rephraim? The Raven Mocker refuses to be used against Stevie Rae, but what choice does he have when no one in the entire world, including Zoey, would be ok with their relationship? Does he betray his father or his heart?

EXCERPT: 
"So I have somethin’ to tell you about your son, and I want you to listen to me. I don’t know how or why it happened, but I love him, and I think he loves me.” 
Here she paused and met Rephaim’s gaze. 
“I do,” he said clearly and distinctly so that his voice carried to everyone watching. “I love you, Stevie Rae.” She took one moment to smile at him, full on, filled with pride, and happiness, and above all, love.

MSM Speaks: After a long time, I picked up House of Night Series again, and guess what? I wasn't disappointed. After Burned, this book surprisingly picks up really good pace. Our Zoey has grown for a bit (Thank the Goddess!) and I am proud of her. She has returned from the Otherworld, with her Guardian and Warrior Stark (I swear, he totally rocks the hot-guardian-boyfriend role! ;)) Now, Zoey is faced with the choice to stay forever on the Isle of Skye, where new powers and magickal portals are opened and the option to be the Queen as wished by Sgiach or return to the poop (Hahah!) that's waiting for her, in the real world. Like most of the choices made before by Zoey, this one also ends up being correct, as she chooses to return. Neferet has totally turned into Demoness - Tsigili and ancient immortal Kalona finally starts seeing through Neferet's super sexy exterior to her Darkness reeking mind. What will he choose? Stevie Rae and Rephaim stand on a cross road, while extenuating circumstances test the power of love, friendship and trust.  A totally I-can't-put-this-down-till-I-finish-it book :P :D MSM shall be generous with the love on this one. ;)

When I first opened this book, I wasn't keeping my hopes high as I had been let down a bit by Tempted, even though Burned was much better, I thought I will end up giving up. (But voila! I didn't!) Enough with the hate, I heart me some House of Night, anyway! ;) So, Neferet has seriously become freaky and super scary, mingling, reveling and controlling Darkness like never before. Her power has swollen so much, that Kalona himself is bound by her. The fight in Goddess's realm gets Kalona reminiscing, but will it have any effect, we shall know later. Neferet now plots with the White Bull (Darkness Personified) by her side. Zoey and Stark unite at the Isle of Skye and discover their love, need and comfort with each other. Stark really is Hot!, especially with that Scottish Accent - Aye Wumman! Better than Erik and Heath! (You know by now, I am totally crushing on the Arrow Boy! Make that Brooding-Warrior-Guardian-Hot Arrow Boy ;))

Anyhow, on a serious note, Rephaim now feels guilt, that may be it is right that Stevie Rae is not with him, as he chooses to stand by his Daddy (Eeesh! Kalona). He believes that he is a monster, not worth loving. So when Stevie Rae calls to him, it is THE call to his yearning heart for her. But what does Stevie Rae want with him? One of the nicely penned portions of the Book and I am not gonna spoil it. Go pick this one up! :D While Zoey decides to return to the House of Night, because of the loss and damage that is waiting for her there, Queen Sgiach gifts her a stone which seeks ancient magic. It is now Zoey's responsibility to use it well. 

In a seriously sick evil plan, Neferet seeks forgiveness from Zoey before the entire House of Night, but our Zoey (way to go girl!) sees through her oh-so-innocent charade. Divine power intervenes and what ensues is, totally worth reading. Let's just say that my wish about Stevie Rae and Rephaim, sort of gets fulfilled. Zoey learns a life changing truth and James Stark is yet to fight the battle to save his soul. Will the blessing of Nyx and second life granted by Kalona, be curse for Zoey's Guardian (Nooo! Please don't screw with him dear writers!) I apologize people for that deviation. (Ahem) While in Otherworld, Heath's time has come to make one choice of the three given to him by Nyx. Choices that will change the destinies of everyone on Earth, including his Zoey. Will Heath's choice turn out to be disastrous and soul-shattering or prove to be a beacon of hope for his friends? Towards the end of the book, while Zoey finally seeks the embrace of her Guardian to get some sleep, a truth is revealed which will haunt Zoey for the life to come. I recommend you all to read this once. You guys won't be disappointed. Promise! :D

My rating: 3.75/5
House of Night (Book 8): Awakened @ St. Martin's 2011 ISBN 13 9781905654857 
Publisher(s): Atom. St. Martin's Griffin Version - Rs. 989/- INR (Hardcover)
Landmark Bookstore in Bangalore: ISBN 10 1905654855
List Price: 299/- INR. Special Price: 207/- INR

*I could't find a direct .pdf link, but here's a torrent link from where I downloaded. http://isohunt.com/torrent_details/308178457/Awakened?tab=summary 
Have Fun people! Happy Diwali and Blessed Be!! :) :)

Anushree

THE FLYING CARPET TO BAGHDAD - Hala Jaber

11:24:00 PM


THE FLYING CARPET TO BAGHDAD


GENRE- NON-FICTION
ISBN 978-0-330-46528-1
NO. OF PAGES- 298
FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2009 IN MACMILLAN
FIRST PUBLISHED IN PAPERBACK IN 2010
BY PANMACMILLAN
PRICE- Rs. 330

AUTHOR- HALA JABER

SYNOPSIS: To find a child to be the face of war- this is the task that
award-winning Sunday Times correspondent Hala Jaber faced when she arrived in Iraq in 2003. Reeling from her own unfulfilled desire for a child, it was the last assignment she would have chosen. Then she met Zahra. Three years old, lying badly burned in a hospital bed, she and her baby sister Hawra were the only survivors of the Baghdad missile strike that killed their parents and their five siblings. She ticked every box, but for Hala it was no longer about the article; she was going to save these damaged children.

A powerful tale of love, guilt and redemption, the shocking story of what happened next reveals more about the human cost of war than the news ever could.

EXCERPT: If it had not been for a strange request from my office, i would never have followed the trail that led me through a teeming, terrified city at war to the hospital where i found Zahra.

‘We need an orphan’ my boss said.
‘Not just any orphan. A special one’.

His instructions were as meticulous as they were startling. I should not settle for the first injured orphan i came across, he told me firmly. I should scan all the hospitals with paediatric wards for the special one.


ANUSHREE SAYS: As the title suggests it is a journalists journey through the arid lands of war torn Baghdad. It is not only an account of the dreadful war that rendered millions homeless and innocent children orphaned, but also the ties of human emotions. I was simply overwhelmed by the simplicity of language used and the way she has explained the pain of not bearing and
nurturing a child.

The book is mainly centered around 4 characters- the author, Zahra, Hawra and the grandmother. I liked the way the author explains the complex stream of emotions she goes through whenever she faces the helpless grandmother and the little girl Hawra, who barely understands the intensity of the situation. In a few portions the mother takes over the role of a war journalist.

The book also speaks about this young boy called Ali who is not only a survivor but an inspiration for millions of people. I personally enjoyed reading Ali’s story. Its written in an intelligent manner, though a few parts may tinker your imagination and force you to feel the pain that the boy goes through. Given that it belongs to the genre of non-fiction, a few parts are heavy and one may think that it is exaggerated. One thing that i loved about this book was that it has no specific mention of Politics. It is an honest attempt to bring out the aftermath of war and the fight that a nation and its people endure.

MY RATING: 3.5/5

Arpita

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

11:01:00 PM



Name of the Author: Mark Haddon

ISBN: 0-09-945025-9

1st Published: 2003

Genre: Mystery Novel/Literary Fiction

Synopsis:

Christopher Boone suffers from a form of autism. He knows a lot about math, but little about emotions. And he’s never been beyond the end of the road on his own. When a neighbor’s dog is killed, he sets out to solve the mystery, and stumbles across a secret that turns his world upside-down.


Excerpt:


I find people confusing. This is for two main reasons. The first main reason is that people do a lot of talking without using any words. Siobhan says that if you close your mouth and breathe out loudly through your nose it can mean that you are relaxed, or that you are bored, or that you are angry, and it all depends on how much air comes out of your nose and how fast and what shape your mouth is when you do it and how you are sitting and what you said just before and hundreds of other things which are too complicated to work out in a few seconds.

The second main reason is that people often talk in metaphors. These are examples of metaphors:

I laughed my socks off.

He was the apple of her eye.

They had a skeleton in their cupboard.

We had a real pig of a day.

The dog was stone dead.


I think it should be called a lie [and not a metaphor] because a pig is not like a day and people do not have skeletons in their cupboards. And when I try to make a picture of the phrase in my head it just confuses me because imagining an apple in someone’s eye doesn’t have anything to do with liking someone a lot and it makes you forget what the person was talking about.


Arpita Speaks:


Never thought I would see EYE TO EYE with someone who loves math so much; which shows that sometimes we really do have to EAT OUR WORDS. Here’s a book that will make you smile at the way people complicate their lives unnecessarily; that will bring to your notice the things which we take for granted or get used to, but which really do seem silly when you think of them the way our protagonist does. He is someone exceptional, someone the likes of whom you might never meet in real life- which makes this book all the more special.

Adorable and intriguing, Christopher Boone will not fail to win your admiration. This prize winning best seller is a simple story of a teenager suffering from autism who gets down to solving a “murder mystery” like his hero, Sherlock Holmes. And in the simplicity of this story lies the sheer brilliance of the author.

What makes it remarkable is the author’s decision not to glorify the relationships between the characters in the novel; which are portrayed through the eyes of a boy who can only judge people on the basis of their actions, and not their intentions- a boy who does not realize that there can also be grey shades to the people he encounters. One grows to scrutinize the characters on the basis of one’s own discretion- with no preconceived notions whatsoever.

As Christopher goes ahead with his innocent attempt to ‘investigate’ the killing of a dog named Wellington, he discovers a secret which changes, for ever, his life and his perception of the world around him. Through the course of the novel, as one reads between the lines, the value of trust and faith comes to light-as does the fact that forgiveness really is difficult to earn.

The most beautiful aspect of the tale is, perhaps, the relationship between father and son. You may tend to like or dislike other characters; you might ponder over their complex relationships with each other- but you will truly marvel at the bond between Ed and Christopher. Want to know what true love is? They will show you.

It’s amazing…how Christopher, without realizing it, shows us that in some cases one does not need elaborate words or even a loving touch to prove one’s love for another. While this boy will cease to be just some character in a novel, this story will move you in more ways than one- despite being nothing more than a chronicle of events recorded by a boy who thinks with his head, and not with his heart.

Rating: 4 on 5

Price: Rs.269/- (Flipkart)

Freelancer

Bones To Ashes - Kathy Reichs

5:17:00 PM


BONES TO ASHES

a Temperance Brennan novel

ISBN - 978-1-4165-2565-3
FIRST PRINTED - 2008
PAGES - 388
BINDING - Paperback
GENRE - Medical Thriller

AUTHOR - Kathy Reichs

BEST-SELLERS - Deja Dead, Bare Bones, Fatal Voyage

SYNOPSIS - The discovery of a skeleton in Acadia, Canada, reawakens a traumatic episode for forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan: Could the young girl's remains be those of Evangeline Landry, Tempe's friend who disappeared when Tempe was twelve? Exotic, free-spirited, and slightly older, Evangeline enlivened Tempe's summer beach visits...then vanished amid whispers that she was 'dangerous'. Now, faced with bones scarred with inexplicable lesions, Tempe is consumed with solving a decades-old mystery - while her lover, detective Andrew Ryan, urgently needs her attention on a wave of teenage abductions and murders. With both Ryan and her ex-husband making suprising future plans, Tempe may find soon that her lover has painfully and irrevocably changed once again.

EXCERPT - Disconnecting, I felt a vague sense of trepidation. LaManche rarely phoned me. When he did, it was never good news. Five bikers torched in a Blazer. A woman facedown in a senator's pool. Four bodies in a crawl space.

LaManche had been a forensic pathologist for more than thirty years, directed our medico-legal division for twenty of that. He knew i was scheduled back today, and that I'd report to the lab first thing in the morning. What could be so complicated that he felt the need to double check my availability?

Or so gruesome.

FL Speak - Yes!! A Temperance Brennan novel. Though i read one of her novels before i started watching Bones, i didn't realize that time it was the same Brennan. Now, however i started reading this novel thinking of Emily Deschanel's character in Bones. It becomes quite clear that those two are extremely different characters. Temperance Brennan of the novels are Kathy Reichs' creation whereas Tempe in 'Bones' are based on Kathy Reichs herself. Glad that i cleared that up.

Coming back to the novel, this book takes us to Brennan's past. Evangeline, Tempe's friend when she was still a kid, disappeared without a reason and nobody was willing to tell why and how. A skull found in Acadia, Evangeline's hometown, brought her back to the Tempe's memories and she frantically prays its not Evangeline. Detective Ryan on the other hand, is swamped physically and emotionally with the case he's handling. A serial killer is out there that targets young girls still in their teens. As Brennan digs into the past and also finds the time to help Ryan, they stumble upon a man who they discover is married to Obeline, Evangeline's sister. Sure that their two cases are intertwined, Tempe and her sister, Harry decide to crack the mystery of Evangeline's disappearance by visiting Obeline. Little did they know that it would raise a few red flags. Soon, Tempe gets threatening calls and emails. Ryan, looking into the missing girls' case discovers a guy who lured the girls promising a star career and instead sold them in the child porn business.

It all comes down to the final 50 pages where revelations and heartbreak mingle with joy and sorrow as they cases race to an explosive end. And in the crossfire is Tempe and Harry. Do they find the missing girls? Will Detective Ryan be able to deliver justice to the parents of the murdered girls? What happened to Evangeline 20 years ago? The answers are revealed in a shocking disclosure as they race against time to solve the case and keep themselves alive.

My Rating - 3 star


E-Book - click HERE


PRICE - INR 275/-

Fantasy

A Feast For Crows - George R.R. Martin

3:40:00 PM


A Feast For Crows

Book 4 of 'A Song of Ice and Fire'

Read about the previous parts HERE

ISBN - 978-0-00-744786-2
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2005
PAGES - 849
EDITION - Paperback
GENRE - Fantasy

AUTHOR - George R.R. Martin

BEST-SELLERS - A Game of Thrones

SYNOPSIS -
Bloodthirsty, treacherous and cunning, the Lannisters are in power on th Iron Throne in the name of the boy-king Tommen. The war in the seven kingdoms has burnt itself out, but in its bitter aftermath new conflicts spark to life. The Martells of Dorne and the Starks of Winterfell seek vengeance for their dead. Euron Crow's Eye, as black a pirate as ever raised a sail, returns from the smoking ruins of Valyria to claim the Iron Isles. From the icy north, where Others threaten the Wall, apprentice Maester Samwell Tarly brings a mysterious babe in arms to the Citadel. Against a backdrop of incest and fratricide, alchemy and murder, victory will go to the men and women possessed of the coldest hearts.

EXCERPT -
Needle was Robb and Bran and Rickon, her mother and her father, even Sansa. Needle was Winterfell's grey walls, and the laughter of its people. Needle was the summer snows, Old Nan's stories, the heart tree with its red leaves and scary face, the warm earthy smell of her room. Needle was Jon Snow's smile. He used to mess my hair and call me "little sister", she remembered, and suddenly there were tears in her eyes.

FL Speaks - [this review contains spoilers. I strongly suggest you read the previous books or atleast, their reviews]

A literal pain in the ass for more than half the book. This book focusses on King's Landing and all the politics that comes with it. Too many Cersei and Jaime chapters...infact, more than too many. Brienne seems to be there too as well. Anyway, this book brings back more characters than before. The Greyjoy's has started another rebellion. Once a new king has been chosen, they sail towards King's Landing. Up away in the north, Lord Commander Snow sends Sam and Maester Aemon to Braavos.

The best character of all the previous books, Tyrion, is missing from this one. Also missing is Daeneyrs, the last of the Targaryens. As is said before, politics come to the fore in this book. With the death of Lord Tywin, Cersei is without a Hand of King. As she tries to protect the King in her own scheming ways, his wife plots to make Tommen free off his mother. Neither succeeds for a long time and it feels like you are watching a stupid indian tv soap.

Sansa is at her dead aunt's place. Less pages of her and thankfully, less whining. Arya Stark is, as usual, yet again, on the run. She finally manages to get a ship to Braavos after escaping the clutches of the Hound. Sam Tarwell meets her there and i prayed that they would finally talk and he would take her to the wall to meet her half brother. But no, apparently my dreams do not match with Mr. Martin. The book picks up the pace after halfway. Plots reveal one after another. I feel sad for Brienne as she is killed for something she believed in. Off all the murders in the series, Ned Stark's, Robb's and hers, i condemn the most. Cersei's life may very well be over after she is held captive for sleeping around. Lol. That was the best scene. Serves that slut right! She sends a letter to Jaime asking him to rescue her but he burns it. I have never smiled as much as this before.

Riverrun has fallen. The Starks are gone. But without Bran, Jon Snow, Tyrion, Daenerys and Stannis, this book almost became a challenge for me whether to complete it or not. Mr. Martin, what were you thinking? YOU NEVER LEAVE OUT YOUR BEST CHARACTERS. Also where is Rickon? Lots of unanswered questions and it threatens to burst into the final volume of the series. Will the Starks find each other? Will the dragons bring peace or war? Will the Lannisters survive their incoming doom? What will happen to the Wall when the Others come? So many left unanswered....one final volume to set it all free. CAN'T WAIT!

My Rating - 3.5 stars

PRICE - INR 239/- [Flipkart Price]

autobiography

A million little pieces - James Frey

8:39:00 PM


A MILLION LITTLE PIECES



GENRE - Semi-fictional Memoir 

AUTHOR - James Frey

BEST-SELLERS - A Million Little Pieces, My Friend Leonard

SYNOPSIS
Aged just twenty-three, James Frey has destroyed his body and his mind almost beyond repair. When he enters a rehabilitation center to try to reclaim his life, he has to fight to determine what future, if any, he has. His lack of self-pity, cynicism and piety gives him an unflinching honesty - a fearless candor is that once charming and appalling, searing and darkly funny.

EXCERPT
I look at my clothes and my clothes are covered with a colorful mixture of spit, snot, urine, vomit and blood. I reach for the call button and I find it and push it and I wait and thirty seconds later an Attendant arrives.
How can I help you?
Where am I going?
You don't know?
No.
You're going to Chicago, Sir.
How did I get here?
A Doctor and two men brought you on.
They say anything?
They talked to the Captain Sir. We were told to let you sleep.
How long till we land?
About twenty minutes
Thank you.
Although I never look up, I know she smiles and feels sorry for me. She shouldn't.

Chandana Speaks -
I refused to pick this book up the first two times, seeing that it was a memoir (which I am not really a fan of). But something made me pick it up the third time (maybe the name?) and boy! Am i glad! By the time you read one-fourth of the book you would be feverently wishing that it WAS fiction just so you can tell yourself that the pain the author was going through wasn't real. 
It starts with James finding himself half-conscious, delirious, with a broken nose, covered in his own vomit and blood, en route to chicago on a plane and with no clue as to how he got on the plane. After he lands he is picked up by his parents who put him in a rehabilitation center. And from there his inspirational and courageous journey starts. 

James has been an alcoholic for ten years and a crack addict for three. He is also wanted by the police in several states for different charges. In the rehab clinic he butts head with the unit supervisors when he doesn't agree with their methods. As stubborn as he is, that he's going to follow his own route to recovery, there is a certain charm to it. His agonizingly self-critical nature is something that will touch your heart. As part of his recovery he is forced to undergo a series of painful root canals without any anesthesia because even that is considered as substance abuse. The 10 page description of his root canal is something I haven't yet dared to read word to word! He copes with the pain by squeezing tennis balls until his nails crack

He also forms an unlikely friendship with Leonard(who happens to be a mafia boss). Leonard's advice to James to just "Hold on" until things get better is one of the things that helps him recover. At the end of the book he begins to care deeply for James and starts to regard him as his Son. Then there is also Lily, James's love interest. He meets Lily a fellow patient with whom he falls in love despite the strict rules against contact between Men and Women in the center. James also starts to build his almost crumbling relationship with his parents with the help of the 'Family Program'. He speaks of his 'Fury' which he thinks is the cause of all his drinking and drugs.

Another thing that hits you as soon as you start reading the book is the absence of "quotation marks". His style of writing is very unique. Its more like reading his thoughts rather than a conversation between two or more people.
All-in-all its a heartbreaking memoir. Its brutal, its candid, its a book that will make you think about family, friendship, love, death and perhaps most of all the never-say-die human spirit.

Rating - 4.5/5

PRICE - INR 295/-

Fantasy

Conan The Invincible - Robert Jordan

2:42:00 PM


CONAN THE INVINCIBLE

Book 1 of 'The Conan Chronicles'

ISBN - 9780523480503
FIRST PRINTED - 1982
BINDING - Paperback
GENRE - Fantasy

AUTHOR - Robert Jordan

BEST-SELLERS -
The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn

SYNOPSIS - Pursued by a blood crazed army, ensnared by the wily and beautiful Red Hawk, the magnificent barbarian challenges the supremely evil necromancer Amanar, and is plunged into ultimate struggle with the darkest of demon-gods, the EATER of SOULS.

EXCERPT - Conan eyed the ridge to the left of the narrow valley the bandits were traversing. There had been movement up there. Only a flicker but his keen gaze had caught it. And there had been others.

He booted his horse forward along the winding trail to where Hordo rode. Karela was well to the front, fist on one high-booted thigh, surveying the mountainous countryside as if she headed an army rather than a motley band of two score brigands, snaking out behind her.

FL Speaks - The legend of Conan is well known in the fantasy world. Films and books have been written about him by various authors. This one is by Robert Jordan.

Not quite what i expected from the man who gave the 'Wheel of Time' Saga. In Conan The Invincible, the writer creates an almost super-human character with superhuman strength. We all have heard of Conan. He is like the Thing and Hulk mashed into one...only perfected.

In this book, Conan is not yet nineteen years old and still he is the best thief in Shadizar. Because of this reputation, a necromancer recruits him for a job of stealing a few precious pendants from the Royal Palace for a lot of gold. Conan almost succeeds, but postpones his plan after failing to secure the pendants on the first night and killing a guard to save a slave. Later he realizes that someone else beat him to the job and the chase begins.

Conan rescues a girl held captive by two mercenary while on the trail of the people who stole the pendants. Little did he know that the girl he saved was the most feared bandit, Red Hawk. With the promise of gold, Conan manages to persuade her and her crew to follow him on his chase. The chase leads to the home of the most evil sorcerer where Conan must survive his own life, get the pendants, defeat the sorcerer and free the slave girl he promised. Lots of action makes this book a fun read.

Superb imagination as the outlaws face the soldiers of the King on one side and creatures from sorcery on the other. An unlikely alliance may be their only salvation. But do they follow Conan, a thief or Red Hawk, their leader or do they succumb to the tricks of the evil sorcerer? And how do they survive an even darker evil?

My Rating - 2.5 stars

PRICE - NA

Elizabeth Moon

Surrender None - Elizabeth Moon

3:05:00 PM


SURRENDER NONE

Book 1 of 'The Legacy of Gird'

ISBN - 9780671698782
FIRST PRINTED - 1990
BINDING - Paperback
GENRE - Fantasy

AUTHOR - Elizabeth Moon

BEST-SELLERS - Hunting Party, Oath of Fealty

SYNOPSIS - Poverty, fear and anger have shaped Gird, as he struggled to survive under an opressive aristocracy of mageborn magic-wielders. His innate hunger for justice and love for 'his' people have taken him from humble beginnings to leadership of a peasant army. Where reason has failed, it seems the only way to end tyranny is rebellion, with perhaps some help from the gods. But Gird's fondness for drink threatens his mission and his life, as his strengths are tempered with weakness.

EXCERPT - He had not intended this kind of entrance, or a display of the other things he'd been teaching his men, but this was a chance he could not overlook.

'Aruk!' he said. Behind him twenty-four sticks came up, to be held stiffly in front of each men. Gird took a step forward, clearing the necessary space, and said, 'Form - troop.' This was tricky; they'd only been doing it right s few days, and it looked anything but soldierly if someone forgot. Properly, it took them from a column to the parade formation in smart steps and turns, each pair coming forward and spreading to the sides. It might have been wiser to simply face the column right or left and pretend that was the same maneuver - but if this worked, it was far more impressive. He did not look around; he wanted to see how these others reacted. From the even tramp behind him, and the heavy breathing, they were doing it right. From the faces in front of him, it looked professional.

Now he turned, as neatly as he could, and looked at his troop. They had all made it into place, still with sticks held vertically before them. Now came the intersting part. He gave the commands crisply, and the sticks rotated: left, right, horizontal, vertical, all moving together in an intricate dance of wood. No one was off-count today, he was proud of them.

FL Speaks - Once in a while a book comes along which you are proud to read. This is one such book. With Gird, Elizabeth Moon has a best-seller.

This is the tale of Gird and no other. It starts with Gird, a peasant's son  who wanted to be a soldier and dreamt of fighting wars and helping the peasants against the wolves and brigands. He signed up, but after a year, when the Lord returned, he ran away from his duty after watching his Lord whip and flog a young child to death for stealing a few plums.

The desertation cost his family prestige and honor and his family was marked by the Lord forever. As he grew up to be a farmer, the Lord's injustice in his village led to the death of his brother and mother. After Gird married, he hoped the hard times were gone, but little does every wish comes your way. The rape of his daughter and the murder of his son was the last nail in his coffin and he left the village to join the rebels into the forest.

It is from here, that Gird grows into a legend. Gird turns the peasants into soldiers from the knowledge of what he learned in the first year of being a soldier. Brigands no more, these peasants live by discipline that Gird imposed. Soon people from nearby villages start flocking in to be part of the group led by Gird. Other outlaws, impressed by Gird's men, join him and the start of a growing army can be seen. But it is easier to lead an army but not so easy as to what to do after the war is won. Gird travels to the land of the Gnomes, who teaches him law and Gird vows to make the world a better place to live after the war.

It would do a grave injustice if I spilled the story out. This is a must-read book...because of the simplicity and the plethora of emotions it brings out in you. A peasant joining the rebels is believed, peasants looting guards is also believed, but a peasant turning peasants into a disciplined army is something no one could believe. And Gird does that and much more.

My Rating - 4 stars

PRICE - $12.24 from Amazon

MSM

Indian Ghost Stories - Edited by Ruskin Bond (A Collection of Stories)

2:10:00 PM

Image Source: flickr.com
INDIAN GHOST STORIES (Edited by Ruskin Bond): A Collection of Ghost Stories from across the Indian Territory.
AUTHOR(s): The Book has some proud names like Rudyard Kipling, R.K.Narayan, A.Conan Doyle, Satyajit Ray, John Lang and Others.
EXCERPT: From one of my Favorite Stories from the book, by Ruskin Bond called, "TOPAZ" 
"Was it all a dream?
It was impossible to say. But the topaz on my hand glowed softly in the darkness.
And a whisper from the forest seemed to say,
'It isn't time that's passing by, my friend. It is you and I...'"

MSM Speaks: Now, I really do not possess hard cover books and that is a shame, I know (So? I read at least. :P) But, I am one proud owner of a copy of this 1962 spine-chilling book.Okay, not exactly spine chilling, but I love this book nonetheless. There is a sentimental value attached to this battered copy that I cherish, as my maternal grandfather had this on his name and I got it, after his death. Hence, I cannot dislike this one in any way.

Coming to the book...I rarely read 'Preface's but I lapped up the 6 page one this had, as it was written by Ruskin Bond. Now coming to the stories that are in here. I will give a short list of my favorites, which got me hooked to this genre since I was 10.
  1. Mark of the Beast (Rudyard Kipling):  Beautifully captures the ideologies of 'firangees ' in India - the story encapsulates the fact that some beliefs are not to be mocked at, as there is a beastly price to pay.
  2. The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes (Rudyard Kipling): Shows an India, that I never knew existed.Gory, breath stopping and interesting, this is no simple tale. I read it twice to understand the chilling escape that our Morrowbie Jukes manages from the 'others'.
  3. Brown Hand (Arthur Conan Doyle): One of the nicest ghost stories I have ever read. It doesn't give false hopes about a ghost with claws and bites, but captures the eerie invisible mystery that a ghost story needs. Away from India, but Indian at heart, this story amuses me till date.
  4. Fritz (Satyajit Ray): Oh, who would have thought that the poetic Bundi ka kila (The Fort of Bundi) will be in a place that has some morbid childhood memories haunting a man of 30 years today. There is a way when a good pen moves on the paper, this story will make you forget to blink.
  5. Anathbabu's Terror (Satyajit Ray): This story always reminds me of the fact that sometimes, doubt is what leads a person to something, from which he can never come back. Written in first person, Satyajit Ray makes the reader feel ever chill, twist, emotion and pain in such an easy flow. It is easy to forget that it is fiction and not real. Captures rural Indian gossip truly. 
  6. Topaz (Ruskin Bond): This five page story is a tiny dynamite. It spikes your blood with tiny bursts of adrenaline and yes, I am biased, because it's Ruskin (Sir, I owe my love for books, to you!). It's set in Kasuali where Ruskin was born and he notices things, that we let pass by. 
  7. Around a Temple (R.K.Narayan): A hilarious bone tickler, written in R.K.'s trademark style, it captures India and it's mysticism in a real way that tells the readers, in India, God is real. (I cracked up at the agony of the UK-returned protagonist.
These are few stories that I  loved in the Book, then there are others, which are typical but good reads. Being MSM, anything with Ghost, Spirits, Hauntings etc. attracts me always and this book, takes me back to the childhood, when getting scared was easy... A must read, if you really want to relax, with a cup of steaming espresso. I promise you, you cannot put this one down, before you hit the last page.

My Rating: 4.5/5
I got this one for free, but for you all interested people, some of the details from the Penguin website ------>Here<------ are as follows:
The Penguin Book of Indian Ghost Stories: 
Publishers: Penguin Books India
Published: 14th October 2000
Imprint: Penguin
ISBN: 
9780140178326
Edition: Paperback
Classification: Historical Fiction
Cover Price: Rs.195/-

Chetan Bhagat

Revolution 2020 - Chetan Bhagat

3:41:00 PM


REVOLUTION 2020

ISBN - 978-81-291-1880-6
FIRST PRINTED - 2011
PAGES - 296
BINDING - Paperback
GENRE - Fiction

AUTHOR - Chetan Bhagat

BEST-SELLERS - Five Point Someone, 2 States

SYNOPSIS - Once upon a time, in small-town India, there lived two intelligent boys.

One wanted to use his intelligence to make money.

One wanted to use his intelligence to start a revolution.

The problem was, they both loved the same girl.

Welcome to Revolution 2020. A story about childhood friends Gopal, Raghav and Aarti who struggle to find success, love and happiness in Varanasi. However, it is not easy to attain these in an unfair society that rewards the corrupt. As Gopal gives in to the system, and Raghav fights it, who will win?

EXCERPT - Aarti and I had a deeper relationship. We saw Raghav as a friend, but not a close one.

'You will make a great air hostess', Raghav said, his tome flirtatious.

'yeah. Whatever,' Aarti said. 'Like dad is going to let me leave Varanasi. There are no airlines here. Only temples. Maybe i can be a temple hostess. Sir, please take a seat on the floor. Prayers will begin soon. Prasad will be served in your seats.'

Raghav laughed again, holding his muscular abdomen. I hate people who are naturally gifted with a flat stomach. Why couldn't god make six-packs a default standard in all males? Did we have to store fat in the silliest places?

FL Speak - And with this, Chetan Bhagat is back! Revolution 2020 was supposed to be carry-on-the-good-work writing after 2 States, which i have to admit was good. But his latest novel turned out to be a dud. A very big dissapointment.

Revolution 2020 has three main characters. Gopal, Raghav and Aarti. The author seems to have a fixation with threesomes, with 3 of his novels having 3 main characters. Anyway, its Gopal and Aarti who steals the plot away with Raghav reduced to being a spectator most of the time. The protagonist, Gopal is the anti-hero whom you will love to hate and love to love.

Varanasi. Home of our three young characters. Gopal and Raghav are friends from childhood and they meet Aarti in school when they were still kids. As time pass, Gopal and Aarti becomes the best of friends and Raghav a good friend of them both. As they reach their teens, Gopal's hormones start to act and he falls in love with Aarti. Aarti acknowlodges that she likes him too but "not like that" [*sigh* this is what happens in bollywood movies!].

Well, i guess you all can figure it out what happens after that? Hint - think Bollywood style. Yes, Aarti falls for the rich and the more hunky Raghav while Gopal, being poor and reduced to just-a-friend slowly loses his friendship. Raghav gets into IIT and Gopal goes to Kota for a year to prepare for his AIEEE once more. Now for the predictible twist. Raghav turns down a job offer at Infosys and chases his dream of being a journalist and start a Revolution to stop the rampant corruption. Gopal, fails to crack AIEEE once more, comes back home dejected. Soon, his father dies and he sells their farming land to a corrupt politician to build a college. You can't help pitying Gopal as he believes whatever he is doing, its not evil.

Aarti is being the confused bimbo. Seeing Raghav busy with his job, she secretly meets with Gopal for coffee at times to rekindle their friendship and not before long they end up sleeping with each other. Kudos Chetan Bhagat. We weren't expecting that! *smirks* Anyway, blah blah blah and as in most Bollywood potboilers, the hero grows a conscience. He sacrifices his love to bring back Raghav and Aarti together and bam! End of Story!

Seriously, i expected a lot more from Bhagat. This is a story that even my hormone-driven teenage brother can come up with in his dreams. Chetan Bhagat, whom i immensely like, is sadly living on the success of his first book. Disappointed.

My Rating - 2 stars

PRICE - INR 140/- [Rupa Publications]

Fantasy

A Storm of Swords : Blood and Gold - George R.R. Martin

6:34:00 PM


A STORM OF SWORDS : BLOOD AND GOLD

Part 2 of Book 3 of 'A Song of Ice and Fire'

Read about the previous books HERE

ISBN - 978-0-00-744785-5
FIRST PUBLISHED - 2000
PAGES - 607
BINDING - Paperback
GENRE - Fantasy

AUTHOR - George R.R. Martin

BEST-SELLERS - A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings

SYNOPSIS - The Starks are scattered. Robb Stark may be King in the North, but he must bow to the will of the old tyrant Walder Frey if he is to hold the crown. And while his younger sister, Arya, has escaped the clutches of the depraved Cersei Lannister and her son, the capricious boy-king Joffrey, Sansa Stark remains their captive, trapped in marriage with Joffrey's deformed uncle, the embittered dwarf Tyrion. Meanwhile, across the ocean, Daenerys Stormborn, the last heir of the Dragon king, delivers death to the slave-trading cities of Astapor and Yunkai as she approaches Westeros with vengeance in her heart.

EXCERPT - He could not have said which was sweeter; the instant of shocked silence , the gale of laughter that followed, or the look of blind rage on his nephew's face. The dwarf hopped back to the floor well satisfied, and by the time he looked back Ser Osmund and Ser Meryn were helping Joff climb down as well. When he noticed Cersei glaring at him, Tyrion blew her a kiss.

FL Speaks -
[This review contains spoilers. I am not going to recap the previous books. So if you haven't read them or the reviews, stop here. I will try not to reveal everything about the book, but most will be out considering this book has the maximum shock and surprises of your lives]

By then End of Book 1, 3 men named themselves the King of the Seven Kingdoms. Renly Baratheon, Joffrey and Robb Stark. By the end of this book,they are murdered, murdered and murdered. Yep, that's the equation right now. Chaos! One stands tall, but with hardly an army, Stannis Baratheon and one Queen is on her way to take the kingdoms by storm, Daeneryes. And not to forget, Mance Ryder rides with his wildlings to attack the Wall in the north.

The book starts sensationally. Whatever disappointments I had with the previous book, this one more than makes up to it. First things first, Jon Snow escapes from Mance Rider's company to keep his vows to the Night's Watch and prepare for the onslaught. The 200 odd rangers that were to fight the wildlings are mostly dead. A mutiny and then the Others strikes. Far away, Lady Catelyn Stark and her son King Robb Stark visit Walder Frey to offer his apologies for not marrying one of his daughters as he vowed. Now, Walder Frey wants Catelyn's brother and the ruler of Riverrun to marry one of his chosen. Robb needs the alliance and what begins with fun and merriment ends in cold blooded slaughter of Robb Stark and his mother Catelyn by the Freys.

By this time, i hope you have realized not to care about a character. Coz whoever you like, George R.R. Martin is sure to kill them off one by one. The Starks are almost gone. Ned Stark, dead. Robb Stark, dead. Catelyn Stark, dead. Arya Stark, missing. Bran and Rickon Stark, on the run. Sansa Stark, captive.

Yet again, Jon Snow and Tyrion stands apart in this book, followed by Arya. Arya is rescued by Lord Berric who refuses to die even after being mortally injured more than once. Though the Hound kidnaps Arya from them again, he wishes to see her off to her brother and mother for a nice ransom. And just before he reaches them, Robb and Catelyn are murdered. In King's Landing, a feast has been organised on the occassion of Joffrey's marriage and it is there that Joffrey dies. Apparently he was poisoned, which is awesome news to me personally since i wanted that rotten idiot to be dead from the beginning. Cersei immediately puts the blame on Tyrion and he is imprisoned while his wife, Sansa Stark is whisked away by Littlefinger in a ship to safety (I always knew Littlefinger was devious, but his greatest treachery come in the final pages of the book. Jaime Lannister finally reaches King's Landing, but the Kingslayer is a ghost of his former past after losing his hand.

The Lannisters are finally beginning to be noble. Though its a long shot, Tryion and Jaime finally manage not to make me curse. Jaime frees Tyrion from his cell and tells him to run. One good thing Tyrion does before fleeing is killing his father, Lord Tywin. Daeneyres is conquering city after city, but her role is getting uninteresting by the book. Up in the North, Jon manages to stop the wildlings for a few days from the wall and are finally saved by the timely arrival of Stannis Baratheon's army. Surprises in the end will make you gasp as Jon is now the Lord Commander of the Wall. Littlefinger takes Sansa to her aunt, Lady Lysa and there he commits the ultimate betrayal.

Oh this series is only getting more exciting. Up next is 'A FEAST FOR CROWS' and i can't wait to see the aftershocks of the series of events that are to follow.

My Rating - 4.5 stars. The most devastating book of the series so far

PRICE - INR 239/- [Flipkart Price]

Freelancer

Dawn of Empire - Sam Barone

8:10:00 PM


DAWN OF EMPIRE

Book 1 of 'Eskkar' saga

ISBN : 978-0-0994-9856-8
FIRST PUBLISHED : 2007
PAGES - 483
BINDING - Paperback
GENRE : Historical Fiction

AUTHOR :
SAM BARONE

BEST-SELLERS : Dawn of Empire, Empire Rising

SYNOPSIS : Three thousand years before the birth of Christ. An epic conflict is about to begin. The reward for victory? Civilization. The price of defeat, a return to the dark ages.

The hopes of civilization rest on one man's shoulders: Eskkar, once a barbarian, now a warrior in charge of defending a small town which lies in the path of a vast barbarian war party. The last time the invaders came to Orak they spared no one, and the tiny candle of trade and agriculture that had begun there, the first in all of human history, was extinguished.

But Eskkar and Trella, the beautiful slave girl he has been given by the grateful townsfolk, and the raggle-taggle army he has inherited are not going to flee. They will fight against overwhelming odds with foolhardy bravery, subtle ingenuity and the last drop of their blood. On this tiny band, the lathe of history will turn: victory or darkness?

EXCERPT - A boy ran up and took the halter from Eskkar as he dismounted. Moments later, the twenty men of the reserve arrived, breathing hard from the quick run. He divided the reserve force and sent half to each tower, but he climbed the steps that led to the top of the gate. Only a few men stood atop the upper rampart and those were busy pouring water over the top of the gate, trying to keep the wood wet.

FL Speaks - The book starts with the barbarian army laying waste on a small village on the banks of the river Tigris. The army are always on the move. They are a nomadic tribe. Any village they plunder, they make sure they burn everything and rape the women and kill the weak and old. They rest, are slaves for life.

Orak, once a small village. Now a village of more than 500 people. Orak was plundered by the same barbarian army 10 years ago. After hearing of the villages' revival, the barbarian chief has directed his army once more towards the village and its riches. The nobles of the village elect Eskkar to see the defenses of the village. Even though Eskkar believed that hardly anyone could stand against the invading horde, he came up with a plan that might just save the village. Because if it is not saved, everything they worked for in the last 10 years would be turned to ashes. The village people throw themselves to the cause even though Eskkar was once a member of the same barbarian clan that is on the move against them.

Enter Trella, a slave girl with the gift of wisdom. Trella was given to Eskkar by the nobles for his pleasure. But Eskkar came to realize that she was more than just a slave. Very soon he started listening to her advice and treated her as an equal, much to the chagrin of some of the noble families. Eskkar did what he knew best. He trained and ordered man to build a huge wall behind which they can defend. And he turned almost every villager into a soldier. Everyone had to work, even the noble and richest families, because if they were late, they would be run down and burned.

With only 5 months to do the impossible, Eskkar and Trella race against time to do the impossible. No one has ever defended against the barbarians and survived. And the villagers of Orak knew if they failed, if Eskkar failed, there would be no one standing.

Intense, fast paced action as Sam Barone brings back history to life. I couldn't find any flaws and as night parted to dawn, i finished the book feeling at peace and satisfied.

My Rating - 4.5 stars

PRICE -
INR 325/- from Arrow Publications

Ashwin Sanghi

Chanakya's Chant- Ashwin Sanghi

11:57:00 AM

File:Chanakya's Chant.jpg

Author: Ashwin Sanghi
Best seller : The Rozabal Line 

Synopsis:
The year is 340 B.C. A hunted, haunted Brahmin youth vows revenge for the gruesome murder of his beloved father.
Cold, calculating, cruel and armed with a complete absence of accepted morals, he becomes the most powerful political strategist in Bharat and succeeds in uniting a ragged country against the invasion of the army of that demigod, Alexander the Great.

Pitting the weak edges of both forces against each other, he pulls off a wicked and astonishing victory and succeeds in installing Chandragupta on the throne of the almighty Mauryan empire.

History knows him as the brilliant strategist Chanakya.

Satisfied-and a little bored- by his success as a kingmaker through the simple summoning of his gifted mind, he recedes into the shadows to write his Arthashastra, the 'science of wealth'.

But history, which exults in repeating itself, revives Chanakya two and a half millennia later, in the avatar of Gangasagar Mishra, a Brahmin teacher in smalltown India who becomes the puppeteer to a host of ambitious individuals- including a certain slumchild who grows up into a beautiful and powerful woman.

Modern India happens to be just as riven as ancient Bharat by class hatred, corruption and divisive politics- and this landscape is Gangasagar's feasting ground. Can this wily Pandit-who preys on greed,venality and sexual deviance-bring about another miracle of a united India?
 
Will Chanakya's chant work again?

Excerpts:
Present day
"How is she," asked Gangasagar.
"Fine," said Menon, "the bullet grazed her right shoulder. A few stitches, some dressing and antibiotics-and she should be ready to go."
"Did you meet the former police commissioner?"asked Gangasagar.
"Yes. I'd told him that it should be her right side, not left. Too much risk of her heart being in the vicinity." explained Menon.
"How many times has the scene been replayed on Doordarshan?"
"Around fifty times."
"Get the press photos of Chandani's head being cradled in Anjali's lap. Put it on posters with the slogan- I am willing to shed every drop of my blood in service of my people. Have thousands of posters printed and plastered over the city. I want her to be a martyr without having died!"

2300 years ago
"But is it wise to exile him? He's an ally of Paurus and will flee to Kaikey with a view to raising troops. Paurus will only be too happy to support his endeavour. After all, Sinharan's ascension to the throne means that Mallayrajya is no longer a vassal of Kaikey," Mehir had exclaimed.
"You are absolutely right, Mehir. And that's why I need him eliminated-but not officially. The population of Mallayrajya must love their new ruler, Sinharan. He should appear kind, fair, just, truthful and benevolent. It's vital that Sinharan's uncle be seen leaving the kingdom-unharmed and unhindered-along with his family and supporters."
"And then?" asked Mehir, knowing the answer and also knowing that it was an answer that would remain unspoken. 

Maithili Speaks:
'Adi Shakti, Namo Namah; Sarah Shakti, Namo Namah; Prithum Bhagvati, Namo Namah; Kundalini Mata Shakti; Mata Shakti, Namo Namah,'
'If the chant is recited four hundred timees a day over four thousand days, the orator shall have Chanakya's powers to actualise another leader- so long as it's a woman. In the new age, Shakti must trump Shiva!'

This is the Chanakya's Chant!

With this book, I feel Indian authors are now making some serious books rather than every engineering graduate turned author's same old story! 
This book has all that makes it a best seller! 
A good storyline, good research of history, mythology, philosophy and a good blend into the present life.

The books is written in alternating segments between the story of Chanakya about 2300 years ago and the fictional tale of Gangasagar based in present times. 

Both the segments are equally gripping, strong, intelligent and cold! 
The book clearly depicts how politics and issues like corruption, terror, caste divide were same about 2300 years ago like they are now. The politicians manipulating the news and killing of the innocent are also very same. The only consolation for the gruesome killings and injustice you feel while reading the book is that both the mentors have killed their conscience for the larger good of the masses- by providing a good leader. 

An engrossing read not just for entertainment but also for some knowledge. This sure deserves to be read and kept in your collection. IT is timeless and relevant whenever you read it.

Ratings: 4.9 on 5. This is one of the highest I have given to any book.

Price: Rs 195/-

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