The Krishna Key – Ashwin Sanghi
The Krishna Key is the latest in the genre started by Dan Brown, and which has now become a rage. This by itself is not a disparaging comment: Whodunits were started by Agatha Christie; Similarly, Historical Puzzle based thrillers were first presented by Dan Brown. What is disturbing, however, that while the story is quite different in some ways, there are clear cases where the story has been obviously inspired by the iconic Da Vinci Code. Is it a good book? Yes? Is it worth a buy? Yes. Is it best-in-class? Unfortunately, no…
- Ravi Mohan Saini: Easy-going, smart, intelligent and quick-witted professor of history
- Priya: 40, smart, doctoral student plus….
- Radhika Singh: Bull headed but honest police officer
- Sunil Garg: Head of the CBI…
- Taarak Vakil: Serial Killer
Raja Man Singh left 4 seals kept in a base plate, which together point to a secret that will point the way to Lord Krishna’s best – kept secret. That is the simple premise of the book. The book is simply based on deciphering the various clues to figure out where the object pointed to by the Key is located. One researcher – Prof Varshney – who knows the secret is murdered; but he has taken precautions by sending 4 of his friends 4 parts of the key. First the Professor and then one by one, the friends start getting murdered
Professor Saini is one of the friends chosen for a key-part; he is suspected of having murdered Prof Varshney; from here starts his headlong rush to save himself both from the police as well as from the real murderer – all the while trying to peice together the near-indecipherable puzzle that has been left by Prof Varshney. He has only his doctoral student Priya and her criminal lawyer father for help… and his wits. He must find the 4 seals that form the key, the base-plate that holds the keys and decipher the reality of the Krishna Key.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? A professor, a female helper, a centuries – old puzzle to be solved, both the police and the crooks hunting the poor souls, a religion – based secret… it is the Da Vinci code all over again. At least at first sight. Even at second sight, the impression of Da Vinci Code cannot be forgotten. The similarities are far too many… let us say that this novel has been inspired by The Da Vinci Code. There are enough twists in the tale that keep it from becoming predictable, there are enough changes in the story that take it away from Da Vinci Code. Further, the base story, while being similar in some instances, has a different flow to it, is different in its nature as well as its thesis. There is no religion-challenging here: all is as it should be. It is slower than the Da Vinci Code, more contrived.
Most importantly, it deals with a subject that we have heard about since we were born (at least the Hindu Audience); so the interest is kindled automatically. The story does not move at a break-neck speed – but rather at a leisurely pace. The character development could have been better… the characters could have been more robust; there are instances where the stated behaviour jars. Luckily, this is only towards the end of the novel – and only in a few places. The story of the Mahabharata has been interspersed – in the signature style of Ashwin Sanghi – which has a twin effect: it breaks the flow of the story, refocuses your mind as well as builds your impatience as you wonder how the story progresses. This enables a sort-of refresher of the old story, which is quite entertaining and interesting. However, in this novel, the flow of the story could decidedly have been much better handled – unlike in Chanakya’s Chant.
The book is all in all a quick read, is interesting and is well presented. The writing style is lucid and free from any pejoratives or curse-words, thankfully. I cannot say any more- positive or negative- as it will reveal too much about the story. It is a good read for a journey, or on a leisurely afternoon.
It is decidedly not his best work; it could have been much better. But what has been presented is nothing to sneeze at either. It is truly a delight to read, especially as it introduces you to delightful and strange aspects of our history that will send you scurrying to do a google search… in those parts, the book is elevated to a truly class book. It has been really very well researched and includes many a surprise for the uninitiated. It also has a series of references for you to cross-check. Can it be re-read? Yes, it can. Worth a buy…