Category Archives: Historical Fiction

The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi

Published / by Elizabeth / 2 Comments on The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi

The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi

I heard a lot about this book but never dared to read it. There were two reasons for that  – one being that I am very apprehensive about reading any books by Indian authors and second was that I am not much into Hindu mythology. Nevertheless I picked The Immortals of Meluha when my husband and brother in law recommended it.

The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi is the first book in the Shiva Trilogy. The second book The Secret of the Nagas is also in print; the readers can expect a review very soon.

The story starts when Shiva, a tribal leader is invited to the kingdom of Meluha. Shiva decides to accept the invitation and go over to Meluha. What was initially thought as a friendly gesture turns out to have more more implications. The Meluhans  are in search of Neelkanth who is supposed to be their saviour, who will save them from the evil Chandravashyis; the only problem being that he is a foreigner.  Things turn around for Shiva when his throat turns to a blue shade after the administration of Somras, the magical medicine. Is he the saviour of Meluhans? Can Shiva, a simple tribal leader lead the mighty Meluhans against the enemy? Is Shiva willing to take up the role of Neelkanth?

My Thoughts

My knowledge of the Hindu mythology was very much limited to the serials that were telecasted in Doordarshan during my school days. I should confess that I was quite surprised when I came to know Shiva was a simple tribal leader in the Himalayan range. The human form of Shiva, the Neelkanth is what connects the reader to the book, may be that adds to the freshness of the book.

I was hooked to the book from the very beginning and the author was able to keep my interest more or less till the end; where the author just decided to end the story abruptly. Did he think that I wouldn’t grab the second if he finish off the chapter smoothly?

The author has done a great job in creating the more human Shiva, someone who is more to be respected and loved than worshiped. And what you feel for Shiva is more of respect that blind devotion. But sometimes, the author has over done this by adding dialogues like “Why in the holy lake” which should be considered more or less “Why the hell?” and then “Dammit”; I certainly had issues reading these lines in a mythological fiction. Don’t they look totally out of place? But many people suggested that I should forgive the amateurish writing of the author considering that he has done a fine job :)

The Immortals of Meluha deserves praise for what Amish Tripathi tried to accomplish and what he achieved. I believe and expect some more mature writing from this promising author in the books to come. I am certainly going to pick up the second book ‘The Secret of the Nagas” of the Shiva trilogy.  Do  watch out for my review on the blog very soon.

Rating: 4/5
Source: Just Books Library
Genre: Indian Historical Fiction
Publication: Feb 2010

Trinity by Leon Uris – Book Review

Published / by Elizabeth / 16 Comments on Trinity by Leon Uris – Book Review

Trinity Leon Uris Book Cover

Rating: 4.75/5
Source : JustBooks Library, Bangalore
Year of Release: 1976

Trinity is the story of Ireland from the Great Irish Famine in 1840s to the Easter Rising of 1916. More than that it is the story of Irish Catholics, their struggle in their own land for the sake of their religious beliefs, the British colonization and exploitation of Ireland.As usually seen in novels by Leon Uris, Trinity is a beautiful blend of fiction and history. There are characters which are entwined very well to portray the history in a very interesting way. This is what makes Leon Uris novels like Exodus so much fun to read.

Seamus O’Neill is the narrator of the story. The story starts while Conor Larkin the protagonist and Seamus are in their early adolescence. There are other characters in the story like Roger Hubble the British aristocrat, Cornelia his wife, Sir Fredrick West, but the focus of the book is the three generations of Larkin family mainly the life of Conor Larkin.

Conor Larkin just like his father and grand father are rebel Catholics who understand the depth of the exploitation faced by Irish Catholics. The never ending hatred between Protestants and Catholics in Ireland has been conveniently exploited by the British Empire to implement the ‘Divide and Rule’ policy.

My Thoughts

I was initially scared to start reading this book as a 900 page book is quite a long read. But I couldn’t put it down once I started it. The story did feel a bit long towards the second half, but that lasted only for a few pages. Personally I enjoyed every bit of this book. It is true that the history portrayed in this novel may be far from the actual truth, but from my past experience I know that it cannot be too far from truth either.

Conor Larkin is the strong point of the story. Many can say that he is a larger than life character, but I believe his character is not an impossible one either; otherwise the world could never have had such great leaders like Mahatma Gandhiji, Nelson Mandela etc who strived hard for their causes. Conor Larkin is portrayed as a strong man who cannot get the cause of Ireland from his life. Though he was many a times tempted to flee Ireland, he always comes back to his own country.

The history of Ireland was something which never came into my realm of thought until I started reading this book. Even the difference or enmity that existed between Protestants and Catholics in the past was unknown to me. So this book was a total eye opener to me.

I find it difficult to put down my precise thoughts on this particular book. So I would just stop after recommending it to every one who doesn’t get scared by a 900 page book. Believe me. Try reading it, the story will take you till the end of the book :) And I am currently tempted to read more on these subjects. ( which should be cured very soon when I got hold of another great book)

Buy Trinity From Amazon

Other books by Leon Uris reviewed on this blog:

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink–Book Review

Published / by Elizabeth / 2 Comments on The Reader by Bernhard Schlink–Book Review
The Reader
Literary Awards for The Reader
Hans-Fallada-Preis (1998)
Exclusive Books Boeke Prize (1999)
I picked this book from the library shelf just because of the front cover. Once I read the summary behind it, I wanted to know if this book had anything to do with the unwatched movie ‘The Reader’ stored in my laptop. Isn’t it fun to pick up books at random and later discover that it was gem of a book ?
Michael Berg is a 15-year old teenage boy living in post WWII Germany when he gets involved with a much older woman Hanna Schmitz who is a tram conductor. Hanna loves listening to Michael reading to her and it became an integral part of their daily routine.One day Hanna disappears from his life with no particular reason. Michael is burdened with guilt since he feels that he has hurt her in some way.
Years later Michael sees Hanna in a court session to prosecute the SS guards who were responsible for the death of more than 100 women during World War II. Michael is not able to connect the Hanna that he knew and the woman in court who is responsible for such an heinous crime. The story moves on when Michael is forced to face Hanna as she is.
My Thoughts
I truly loved reading this book which is so beautifully written. The book is about the generation living in Germany post WW II. The relationship between Hanna and Michael is depicted with so much honesty.
To some extend the author was able to tell the readers about the impact that the sudden disappearance of Hanna had on Michael’s life. And of course her sudden appearance too…
The part where I found it difficult to connect was Michael’s thoughts about the Holocaust. Somehow I was not able to understand exactly what went through the Germans after the war. Did they feel guilty about the Nazi era? What was the main emotion that guided the Germans during the war? His thoughts were quite vague about the war though the theme of the story is very closely related to the Holocaust.
The Reader was short and sweet and I finished the book within a day. I am planning to watch The Reader Movie starring Kate Winslet asap, which is actually the reason why I am writing this review now…so that this book review is not biased by what I see in the movie.
Rating : 3.5/5
Genre : Historical Fiction
Source : JustBooks Library, Bangalore
Year of Release : 1995 
Originally written in German, translated by Carol Brown Janeway

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God’s Pauper by Nikos Kazantzakis–Book review

Published / by Elizabeth / 3 Comments on God’s Pauper by Nikos Kazantzakis–Book review
gods pauper nikos kazantzakis

Rating:  4/5
Source:  Justbooks Library, Bangalore
Genre:  Historical Fiction

God’s PauperGods Pauper- St Francis of Assisi Nikos_Kazantzakis is a fictitious account of the life of St Francis of Assisi by Nikos Kazantzakis. Starting from Francis’s spiritual conversion till his death, the story is narrated by Leon who is called Brother Leo by St Francis. Nikos Kazantzakis is famous for his book ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’ which is a fictitious account of the life of Christ.

This was one of the books that influenced me a lot. While reading some pages, I was acutely aware of being influenced by the character of St Francis. I should say that one of the reasons this book had a profound influence on me was due to my Catholic upbringing. This forced me to do a comparison of my spiritual life with the burning faith of Francis in the book. Probably the only consolation that I got in these moments was the narrator himself, who is totally human. Brother Leo has all the weaknesses of the human body that Francis doesn’t seem to care much like hunger, tiredness, sleepiness, cold, craving for good food etc.

One of the touching aspects about Brother Leo was his commitment towards Francis. Leo never thought about leaving Francis for all the comforts that he craved. He wanted to follow Francis wherever he went, to protect him, to pray with him and to see God with him.

Though this book disappointed many people who read The Last Temptation of Christ, I loved reading this book. I should say that this is not an easy read though it is fiction. I am not sure how much of the story is true, but I think I have started recognizing St Francis as a person and saint after reading this book. St Francis is known as the patron saint of animals.