First of all let me tell you what captivated me most… it was the cover picture of a man with his back towards the reader, matted hair-locks bearing an unmistaken resemblance to Lord Shiva, with the backdrop of the “Trishul” (probably one reason, why the figure can immediately be related to Shiva). The story inside thus revolves around the a journey of the beginning of the legend of Shiva, a young mortal and his being deified to the stature of a God or Mahadev due to his “Karma”.
The flow of the story and the format of this being first of the trilogy, gives it a “Lord of the Ring” flavour with a lot of Myth and history put in the right places. The reader these days are well informed about the Hindu mysticism and ancient history and hence the story follows a familiar gripping tale of Shiva, His eccentric ways of life, Sati, Her sacrifice and other ancient Shiva related beliefs known today. The written matter can be easily related to the ancient Indian settings of the Indus Valley civilization and the non-Aryan mortals of those days with a strong reference to the good vs. evil sagas that we have been induced since childhood.
Amish Tripathi (yet another IITian) brings a fresh look at the legend of Shiva as being a mortal in the beginning, rising through various life tests again and again, to be accepted as a saviour for the people of Meluha eventually becoming a diety worshipped by the lesser mortals. Shiva has been depicted as a strong, muscularly built, intelligent, tactful, charismatic and witty person, who wins over all Meluhans thus making a mark for himself. Even the Meluhan King and his army chief give him the respect he deserves and gets from other fellow Meluhans.
The mystic medical ways of the ancient world also come to fore with the mentions of how Shiva consumed the poison from the oceans to become “Neelkanth” and the use of “Somrasa” for curing Sati’s injury from the Nagas. Apart from Shiva being depicted as a human, the other heavenly beings we know today e.g. Brahma, Brahaspati, Nandi, are all depicted in this book as non-Godly, much human and real-life with extraordinary powers as a result of their intelligence.
The First part of the trilogy has been very well written with an excellent narrative quality to the ancient tale. The manner, in which the end has been written, provides a delectable prologue to this book ending with a suitable twist, leaving you wanting and waiting in anticipation for Book 2 of the Meluha legend.