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The Secret of the Nagas by Amish Tripathi

Many Hindu gods are mythical creatures in a humanoid form. There is the fearsome Kali with multiple arms and a protruding tongue; there is Hanuman, part human part monkey with immense strength and courage; Ganesh, the stout God with an elephant’s head; and then there is the mysterious Shiva with a blue throat and a third eye that opens when all hell breaks loose.

These gods might seem straight out of a superhero movie, but in reality, they are truly revered and exalted. They live in the hearts of their devotees, inspiring them to live a righteous life. These are the deities whose legends dot the firmament of the Hindu mythology. These legends never get old, as they are retold generation after generation. Sometimes, in their retelling, they are reinterpreted defying the norm.

Amish Tripathi’s The secret of the Nagas, the second book from the Shiva Trilogy does just that—it reintroduces some of the most captivating Hindu gods in a refreshingly new light. Taking off from its prequel The immortals of Meluha, the book begins with the aftermath of the war between the Suryavanshis and the Chandravanshis, two rival kingdoms set in ancient India, more than 4000 years ago. After learning about a disturbing prophecy from the Chandravanshi royalty, a distressed Shiva sets out to right his wrongs. Shiva hears the two sides of the story and begins an independent quest to discover the face of evil. His quest takes him across ancient India in search of the Nagas, the supposed terrorists. The truth about the Nagas unfolds, and tables turn. Foes become allies and shocking truths are revealed.

As the story progresses, the plot thickens and suspense builds. The author’s passion and love for mythology and philosophy shines through the work. The extensive research on the subject and the seamless interweaving of fact with fiction are a testament to Tripathy’s skill and craft. The carefully created characters of well-known gods of the Hindu mythology speak volumes about the author’s courage to take risks. Presenting Kali and Ganesh in a modern light, he allows mythology to mingle with rational thought. By doing so, he welcomes even a sceptical person to his wondrous world of creativity and fantasy.

For this reason and many more, The Secret of the Nagas is a befitting sequel to The Immortals of Meluha. Interlaced with mythology, philosophy and science, keeping the reader’s curiosity piqued all the way till the end, the book ends with yet another cliff-hanger. The gripping plot, the spirit of adventure, and bold avatars of the infallible gods make the book a must-read.

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