I remember telling this to a fellow book blogger some time back that I am done with my share of mythological fiction for this year and then one day I was asked to review Satyarth Nayak’s debut novel The Emperor’s Riddles. After reading its blurb, I realised that this mythological fiction is based on Buddhism which was an untouched territory for me. And on top of it, it was a thriller and I was craving for a good thriller since last couple of weeks. That is how, I decided to pick up this book and I got what I wanted. A good and well-crafted thriller.
The book begins with Om Patnaik, an author who has penned down bestsellers after bestsellers containing scholarly stuff and is one of the most revered authors of the country. He has a bizarre fixation with number 9 and the reason behind it is explained quite logically in the second chapter of the book. And then comes the sure shot method to grip a reader in the story, a murder in the first few pages of the book. Ram Mathur, friend of Om Patnaik and a scholar himself is murdered on the ghats of Ganga. Ram, who is in Lucknow at that point of time is hollered by Sia Mathur, daughter of Ram and is asked to be there at the murder site. Inspector Parag Suri is investigating this case and names the murderer The Scorpion. The Scorpion is one a leash and is killing people across the country.As the story progresses, Om & Sia connect the dots left by Ram Mathur to resolve his murder mystery and while they are at it, they come very close to uncovering an ancient enigma that is so powerful that even Gods would kill for it.
While all this is going in the present, there is another parallel plot that goes in a completely different time and space. An emperor playing with forces that later threaten the survival of human race. Now this plot is what confused me as a reader. I just couldn’t relate to it. It compelled me to go back and forth, again and again and diluted the fun of reading this book in the midway. So much that I had to put it down. But, I picked it up again and gave it another shot and towards the end, everything came together and I was satisfied as a reader.
I must comment on the kind of research that has been put by Satyarth Nayak in putting this entire thriller together. He has left no stone unturned in keeping a reader on the edge and have spread the shocks and surprises in the story evenly across the book. Though, at times, I felt that the stuff was too much to handle but then I just kept reading and in the end, I was content with what I had read. The writing style is decent but could have been better at some places. Overall, The Emperor’s Riddles will definitely make an interesting & intense weekend read. You just have to be a bit patient with it. Give it a shot.
Book Source : Author
Publisher : Amaryllis
Genre : Fiction, Thriller
Price : Rs. 299/-