Title: The Mahabharata Quest: The Alexander Secret
Author: Christopher C Doyle
Price: Rs. 295
The Mahabharata Quest: The Alexander Secret by Christopher C Doyle is an action-packed tale combining history, mythology and modern technology. Doyle explores the science behind a popular myth in the Mahabharata, giving it a contemporary twist.
Archaeologists unearth the ancient tomb of a queen in Greece while in another part of the world, the Intelligence Bureau finds corpses in a hidden lab. A bunch of friends (who share a connected past in Doyle’s previous book), who are also members of an elite task force, find themselves in the middle of a riddle, inscribed on ivory.
The narrative flits between ancient Greece to contemporary India, spanning numerous locations and time periods. It dives deep into history to reveal Alexander’s quest for power and supremacy and his insecurities. It talks of a mother’s love to protect the throne for her son and secure his place in history. It relies on the use of logic, reasoning and deduction to solve an ancient riddle, a riddle that could hold the world to ransom in the coming days.
It is primarily the story of Vijay, who very unsuspectingly gets sucked into solving this riddle, against an unseen enemy, the Order. He is ably assisted by a bunch of friends, which include his fiancé and her father, who very conveniently is well versed in Indian mythology and scripts.
It is a well-defined plot and most of the characters know what they are doing although Doyle provides little back story about each of them. It would have been nice to get a clearer picture of the friendship between Colin and Vijay and Vijay and his to-be father-in-law. I also felt that Doyle made too many references to his previous book without providing a clear explanation. He could have also gone easy with the highly detailed scientific explanations of the complex genetic processes discussed in the book. But the brief notes from the Science and Historical files at the end of the book simplify some of the complex ideas that he puts forth.
The book is engaging but the many long-winded and convoluted sentences don’t make for easy reading. The language is much too descriptive, often stating the very obvious facts, and there is much telling rather than showing, slowing down the pace of the book.
There is immense research in this book: Alexander’s life and his conquests, Olympias’ reign, Greek mythology, Indian mythology, Sanskrit verses, recent developments in the genetic and biotech world and a possible reinterpretation of the popular legend of the Samduramanthan.
Although I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, The Mahabharata Quest: The Alexander Secret has the makings of a typical masala Bollywood film. There is suspense, drama, subterfuge, a chase sequence and lots of action.
Learn more about Christopher C Doyle and his books.