After an impatient wait of more than a month, I finally laid my hands on the third book of the Vikramaditya Veergatha series, ‘The Vengeance of Indra’. Curveballs of life again delayed my reading by a couple of weeks which was disappointing, to say the least. Having overcome some of the obstacles, I finally managed to finish the book earlier this week.
‘The Vengeance of Indra’ is slower compared to the pace set by the predecessors in the series. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any excitement or that there are dull moments. The excitement that this brings is in the build-up of what is to come in the final book of the series. I think the speed had to be curtailed because of the position of the story. It’s just like a battle – you take stock of the position you are in before drawing a hectic battle line again.
The interesting thing about this book is that most of the councilors of Vikramaditya are away from Ujjayini. This was necessitated by a lot of things and one would think with Ujjayini’s guard a little down, the devas and asuras would take the bull by its horns. There is a feeling of uneasiness, and quite naturally so. The devas and asuras continue to plot and there are quite a few natural outcomes to the way the story develops. There is this uneasiness among the allies as well and one really hopes the relationship stays taut.
What stands out in this book is human nature. Shatrujeet has continued to delve into the mind of the characters from where he left off in ‘The Conspiracy at Meru’. You have good vs. evil, attack vs. defense, confidence vs. confusion, honesty vs. treachery, betrayal vs. redemption all interwoven beautifully into the tale. This compensates for the lack of battle scenes, the kind of which we see in the first two books. It’s intriguing and engaging. In a sense, it’s a battle – of the minds. There is an air of impending danger at the conclusion – a harbinger of things to come.
I remembered a shloka apparently penned by the legendary Kalidasa, which I had first read some 20 years back. The shloka runs like this:
ख्यातो वराहमिहिरो नृपतेः सभायां
रत्नानी वै वररुचिर्नव विक्रमस्य|
(In King Vikrama’s court there were the nine gems by the names of Dhanvantri, Kshapanaka, Amara Simha, Shanku, Vetal Bhatta, Ghatakarpara, Kalidasa, the renowned Varahamihira and Vararuchi).
Hope the nine gems and the Samrat remain intact at the conclusion of the series, their stories as immortal as the shloka.
I really can’t wait for the ‘The Wrath of the Hellfires’. It will be one hell of a read, methinks. I’m giving a rating of 4.5 on 5 for ‘The Vengeance of Indra’. The author deserves kudos for keeping the reader engaged throughout the series. It’s no mean feat considering the waning interest in mythology in India. Tales like these will not just add an imaginative dimension to mythology but also rekindle an interest in understanding the original mythology.