Let me start this review with recommendations. This is the perfect book for fans of detailed reading. It is a great mystery thriller backed up with facts, figures, and diagrams and connects instinctively with logical minds. With a focus on some major social issues like politics, communalism, and terrorism, this book also comes with a social message of how unethical groups use the weakness in individuals to exploit them and later their countries.
There is no dearth of books with a similar premise where ancient symbols are used to discover and thwart some major terrorist activity. But Aryabhata Clan is different from the lot. It uses cryptography that is a mix of symbols, music, and rugs. The techniques used are very ingenious. I found myself trying to figure out the clues in the diagrams and making calculations to solve the riddles.
The effort put by the author in this work is commendable. And I can easily say that well-researched facts are the USPs of this book. But details can also lead to confusion sometimes. There are so many scripts and languages mentioned in the book, I had to go back and cross check them multiple times. I am not saying that is a bad thing because I like challenging books. I just had to keep my eyes peeled for details and connections. One can easily get lost if any link is missed.
Coming to characters, I loved the fierce female protagonist, Kubha. She undergoes soul-numbing atrocities at the hand of terrorists but her will to serve her country and her family keeps her going. She is not encumbered by the societal rules and her relationship with Parush is not conventional. But her parents, Afsar and Kratu, always support her and help her chose the right way. There are a host of other major and minor characters. I suggest keeping a track from the beginning lest they get muddled.
The narrative is very engaging but can get a little repetitive or verbose at times. Also, I found it difficult to keep track of all the Urdu words. Thankfully, Sudipto has provided English translations along with them. However, the book keeps you glued and turning pages until you reach the end.
There are a series of deductions and ideas towards the end that I do not completely agree with. While the author has tried to show a united India, separating parts of it was something I did not find cool. I may be biased because I belong to those parts but I would not have been entirely convinced even otherwise. This is opposite to how I feel for the rest of the book. But I realize that everyone thinks differently and it is impossible to appease the varied readers an author gets. And that’s perfectly okay. In the end, I had a great time going through this 450-page book and that’s what matters!
I also did a video review on Instagram for this book on my stories and I am attaching the video link here. It was my first attempt at it. Do let me know if you like the format.
Please watch the video here
Book: The Aryabhata Clan Author: Sudipto Das Publisher: Niyogi Books Publication: December 2017 No. of pages: 476 My rating: 4/5
Thanks to the author and the publisher for sending me a review copy. All ideas are my own.