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Book Review: Agniputr (When Agni first spoke)

A mix of historical fiction and  sci-fi with a hint of mythology, Agniputr by Vadhan is a book that I was not able to place into a specific genre. But all I know is that Agniputr is a story that will leave you mesmerized and asking for more! A super entertainer from the very beginning, it will keep you engaged till the very last page. And that trumps the genre categorization for me.

The story of Agniputr starts from 1940’s when the Gudem village’s patriarch is poisoned and murdered by his own kin. One the very same night, a tantric enters the royal palace’s Samadhi complex with a motive to make a concoction of destruction. The tantric is trying to unleash something demonic, according to his Master’s wishes. And when he unleashes it, a sudden realization hits him that he has committed the biggest mistake of his life, keeping at stake the life of every living being.

Fast forwarding to 1970’s, you meet another royalty from Gudem, a cripple who decides to enter the Samadhi to save his people. He becomes successful in controlling the demonic activity, but then he is lost forever into the Samadhi. No one can ever enter or pass by it. People are consumed by it.

In the present day, the only remaining heir of the royalty of Gudem, Raghuram Surya lives in Gurgaon. One morning, he receives a notice of requisition from Government of India for entering, vacating and providing his castle in Gudem and Samadhi grounds for research, to understand what is beneath those grounds that makes people vanish from the face of the earth.

Lead by a formidable scientist Sheila and her team of scientists along with the army lands at Gudem only to witness more spooky things. Sheila and Raghuram join their forces to understand what is going on in Samadhi, and by doing so they witness things that change their very perception of formation of human life and it’s attributes. Raghuram also comes across a truth that he was chosen by his ancestors to finish the evil, “The Sutram”, lurking under his ancestral grounds by raising “Agniputr”.
Will he able to fulfill his destiny when politicians like Home Minister Kiromal and his tantric ally want the Sutram to thrive more?

From the very first page, Agniputr is a complete page turner. It holds the reader’s interest throughout the book, hardly slipping anywhere. The most striking feature about Agniputr is that it manages to handle a mixture of multiple genres very smoothly. Rarely a reader might feel lost in this unique art of mixing but otherwise, this wise concoction of multiple genres makes up for a pretty great read.

The inclusion of Army backdrop with a hint of politics adds a bit of spicy thrill into Agniputr. The characters are beautifully created, each doing justice to their part. Another striking thing about Agniputr is that the smaller characters, who either withered out of the story or played a small part create a very strong base of mystery. Characters like pichi Rathaya and Sathi played a very short but a central role in the plot.

The only issue a reader may face will be the climax of the story. The author has done an excellent job of carving out a climax from two-three genres mixed but then climax may seem a little confusing to some readers. I also had to read the climax twice just to wrap my head around it.

All in all, Agniputr makes up for a pretty great read, something that any reader can devour into.

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