Book Review: The Curse of Surya by Dev Prasad

I recently got a chance to read The Curse of Surya by Dev Prasad while on my birthday trip. This book is what one might call a mythological mystery set in modern times, a-la The Da Vinci Code or Chanakya’s Chant.

This book is set in locations inhabited by Krishna during his era (Mathura, Dwarka etc.) and focuses around a jewel called the Shyamantaka that was lost during Krishna’s times. What powers does the jewel hold, who all are the interested stakeholders in this jewel, what transpires between them is what makes up the story.

It is refreshing to see a female protagonist in a mystery novel. Sangeeta Rao, the carefree reporter from India working in Singapore, fits the bill very well. She is strong, inquisitive, knowledgeable and ready for adventure. She runs into Alan Davies, a Welsh professor, and is instantly charmed off her feet by the Welshman. Together, the two attend a religious conference where an untoward incident happens. In the ensuing confusion, the duo finds themselves on the run and being helped by a Frenchman who works in a museum in the USA (talk about globalization!). Meanwhile, the police is after them for prosecution. How this intrepid group of individuals peels the layers of the plot behind the crime and realize the bigger game underway, is what forms the crux of the story.

In terms of structure, the story flows well from one part to the next. I did not feel as if it was disjointed at any level. It takes a couple of chapters for you to get invested in the story, but once you’re in, you want to know what happens next and are wondering about the next steps of the characters.

In terms of the background, the story has its origins in Indian mythology and this makes it easier for the average Indian reader to relate with and understand. The easy-going way the story is written also makes you wonder about the authenticity of the claims. I, for one, have felt interested in reading more about Krishna’s times and the history behind them. As it turns out, the author Dev Prasad has written another book, Krishna A Journey Through The Lands & Legends Of Krishna which caters to the actual historical information about Krishna’s era.

In terms of readability, I would say it is a good read. As mentioned, the book starts out a little slow, but picks up speed as you go along. In the second half, the motivations of a few characters seemed a bit circumspect to me. However, all in all, this seemed like only a minor hiccup in what was an easily readable story.

In terms of final views, I would rate this book as a good easy read. As mentioned earlier, I read this in transit, and this was done by the time I had reached my destination. It’s a book that will keep you entertained, interested and invested while it’s in your hands. Once done, you have an easy option to explore further as well. Overall, I would give it 3.5 out of 5.