Immortals of Meluha by Amish – Part I of Shiva Trilogy

Immortals of Meluha by Amish
Immortals of Meluha by Amish

Imagine the classic Indian tale of Shiva Parvati being told in a rational and logical way in the language that is colloquial and contemporary. While still maintaining all the elements of the story. Immortals of Meluha relates about myth, remote mythical empires, extraordinary people, philosophy, dilemmas, simple and not so simple characters.  The romance that has boy running after the girl and finally winning her over. Friendship, revenge, war, action, and magical Somras.

Meluha is an out and out Indian story told to the logical mind of the current era, in a language that today’s Indian identifies with. It is also a very different and rational look at a story that we have known forever. And a character that we have often heard of. The author takes a take at how some characters in the history sometimes become demigods and finally Gods with the passage of time. Sometimes it is a stroke of luck, sometimes a dash of faith that someone else puts on the person and sometimes just a play of circumstances.

The names and places are chosen with some research and there is an attempt to explain the unexplained.  Like where does the name Parvati come from, how the slogan Har Har Mahadev got formulated. There is a human description of most powerful characters of our mythology: Shiva and Parvati.

If you read the historians views on Mahabharata, where they debate whether it is a reality or a myth, you would discover that all of them agree that it happened. What they differ on is to what extent it happened.How much had been added to it over the ages before it was penned down  as a story for the first time.

Let us take a very contemporary example. Devdas a Novel written not so long ago has been made into a movie three times over. If you read the book, it is a very simple story set in a village in Bengal. Then came the celluloid version which made it larger than life but still set in a village. Then came the magnum opus which look it beyond the country and the opulence added for the current times. And then came a very contemporary take on the same story. This is how the gloss keeps getting added to a simple basic story, till they become so big that we start believing in their grandeur. Which is sometimes just a figment of the imagination of the carriers of the story. It is from this perspective that author seems to have de-constructed the story of Shiva, one of our most revered God.

I am not sure if this is a new genre. But Immortals of Meluha is the first book that I have read in this genre. Where you deconstruct myth and history with the current day logic and language. It made an entertaining read, where you keep turning pages and keep anticipating what is going to happen next. You kind of know the story but still want to read it. The end is a bit abrupt and not properly wounded up. There is an element of philosophy that has been kept alive along the storyline. The language could have been better but the strength of the story makes up for it. The story has a folk flavor to it, which for me makes it the bedtime story that takes you to dreamland where everything is possible. The only limitation being your own imagination.

The myths and their scientific explanations, timelines of various historical facts. And their chronological order and many other such things can be questioned. But then it is a fiction and the author has the right to depict things the way he wants.

Look forward to reading the sequel…

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  1. Your review of the book makes it a compelling reading. Mythology married with logic has always made interesting read. Hope to pick it up and read soon enough.

  2. you should also read the Ramayana series by Ashok Banker.. it falls in the same genre and it really makes you look at these stories in an entirely differnt way… i loved this one!

  3. The concept of the book is very nice, no doubt. But the language seems a bit off.
    Anyways, check out this interview of the author : In the interview he says this about the criticism witht regards to language : I need to take feedback honestly and sincerely to keep improving. But if the point is specifically on the modernity of the language, I don’t intend to change that. Language is a means to an end. The end in the case of a fiction book is to tell a story. If the language makes it easy, then the language is doing its job. If the language is too difficult and ends up making the story slow, then it is not doing its job. And the best way to make the language easy is to use words that people use every day, not trip them up with some classical words for which they would have to rush to the dictionary

  4. I read this book recently. As you've mentioned, this seems to be first attempt of this kind, taking up Indian Mythology and turning it into well molded fiction. The only thing i felt reading this book is that the author has written the book with a Movie in his mind, as in, for the future. Maybe i felt this coz am a movie buff 😛
    And again, as you mentioned. The ending was abrupt. All in all, this was a fun to read. This way, some of our generation might actually get interested in Indian Mythology and relate more to amazing Indus Valley civilization rather then the Egyptian mummies and Roman gladiators 🙂
    cheers 🙂

  5. I liked the example of Devdas you have given in the review. Time probably glosses up the original story.
    I read the book and really liked the concept.

  6. Great Review Anuradha…The plot truly was captivating and I loved the way Amish blended History and Mythology together.

    Did a detailed review on the same myself. Do check it out when you get time 🙂

    Hi Karthick,

    Loved your review on the same. For me the plot was really captivating and quite fresh and original but truly, in terms of language, was where I guess Amish needs to improve specially in the sequels.

    By the way did a detailed review myself on the book

  7. It truly is what you have described.
    Though I dont think the end is very abrupt. Instead I would say it has kept me on my toes for the next part "The Secret of Nagas"


  8. dear anu , i object the word rational , by that you are accepting/ imparting the idea that our scripts are irrational or illogical . the fact is that they are not. U did not find, so irrational and illogical …thats sad to know that people do not realize the puranas as history just bcoz they differ from their logical ideas. The history and truths about nature are told in dialectical way that would attract the people , but people of today are not able to realize it ….

  9. ….If you read the historians views on Mahabharata, where they debate weather it is a reality or a myth….

    Spelling is wrong..
    Whether not weather

  10. Well i have read many novels particularly of this kind of genre,some names i would like to mention are Sam Barone,Conn Iggulden,etc….Sam Barone has describef a plot related to mythical occurance of city of Akkad and the first empire recorded in history while Conn Iggulden has various books on Ceaser's Rome and the legacy of most feared Emperor,Genghis Khan…Amish Tripati's Immortals of meluha is a nice book and i am now eagerly awaiting for his second book though his meaning of "Har Har Mahadev" slogan is a bit wierd…..

  11. hi.
    I have not yet read this book but after reading your review, i am heading out at the fist available moment and buying it. What you say about destructuring the mythology to unearth a more realistic scenario is absolutely captivating. you can find similar destructuring of Mahabharta in Hindi in a 8 book series called Mahasamar by Narendra Kohli and also the story of Ramayana in Abhyudaya by Narendra Kohli. Both are compulsary reads for us all who wish to know, what are mythoogies devoid of Supernatural powers – the stories of Mortal Men, who have been classified as heroes and later on as Gods through generations ..

  12. hi..this is the first review of the book that I have read. I have already read the book and I totally agree with Anu in its being refreshingly logical. And I cannot stress the point enough. But what I find strange is that no one has mentioned the beautiful way in which the author has depicted the pros and cons of two perfectly capitalistic (Chandravanshi) and communist (Suryavanshi) societies.
    And I am in complete agreement with the justification given by the author in the aforementioned interview for the language used. There are different ways of using language while writing. In Eric Segal's 'Love Story', the language was the key which turned a simple love story into an interesting read whereas in this case, getting the point across (which in themselves were interesting enough) is more important and risking it fr the sake of language is just not tenable.


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