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The Immortals of Meluha by Amish Tripathi

Known by many names—Mahadeva, Mahayogi, Pashupati, Nataraja, Vishwanath, Bhole Nath—Lord Shiva is one of the most mysterious and powerful deities of the Hindu pantheon. He is considered the embodiment of the unfathomable ‘higher consciousness’, the personification of the intangible, the boundless, and the transcendental ‘Brahman’. Shiva is feared for his fierce anger and loved for the benevolence that makes him a god. But what if Shiva were human just like us? What if he was elevated to a godlike stature solely because of the choices and actions he made during his lifetime? This is the premise of Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy.

The first book of the trilogy, The Immortals of Meluha, introduces Shiva as the head of a Tibetan clan. A warrior, Shiva courageously fights and protects his tribe from rival clans. It is during the aftermath of one such battle with an enemy that Shiva and his tribe are invited to live in Meluha, a well-developed empire under the reigns of Suryavanshi rulers. Fed up of unnecessary bloodshed between rival clans, Shiva accepts the invitation of the Meluhans, anticipating a fresh beginning for his people.

Upon arriving in Meluha, Shiva’s destiny begins to unfold. He is hailed as the Neelkanth (the blue-throated warrior) and is touted as Meluha’s saviour. Then he meets the love of his life—Sati. What follows next is a series of captivating, enchanting events that eventually bridge the distance between the hearts of Shiva and Sati. What makes this section, the first half of the book, interesting is Tripathi’s storytelling ability. Despite weaving mythology with history and fiction, the author portrays Shiva as an enamoured young man, making the story of Shiva and Sati relatable for its readers.

In the second half of the book, Shiva learns about the imperfect realities of the almost-perfect Meluhan Empire. Their primary river Saraswati (which they use to make the immortal drink called Somras) is drying up rapidly. They are also frequently attacked by the Chandravanshis, their enemy kingdom, and Nagas, a terrorist group. Whether Shiva sides with the Meluhans in an upcoming war against the Chandravanshis is a decision that will eventually decide the fate of his destiny.

Suspense builds as the story comes to an end, leaving the readers enthralled. The author has done a convincing job in portraying Shiva as a mortal possessing tremendous courage and fighting spirit. The war scenes are narrated so vividly that a reader can literally visualise the battles. With an engrossing plot and a light-hearted narrative, The Immortals of Meluha keeps the reader on the edge of their seat right from the outset. All in all, the book decrypts the unfathomable mythical God Shiva and makes him seem more approachable.

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