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Published: 6/20/2020
AD 455, Central India The marauding Svetahunas manage to take prisoner Harshavardhan, among the bravest of Bharatvarsha’s warriors. In captivity, he fashions a game of combat strategy with black and white pebbles, preparing for the day when the Svetahunas and his people face-off in battle—a war that will determine the future of Bharatvarsha. His compatriot Kalidasa, a famed poet, shares Harshavardhan’s captivity and the hope to save their country. Present day, New Delhi When her…

This book is an excellent combination of events of two very different eras. From history to mystery, it has everything you’d want to have in one book. 

The story is a wonderful blend of two worlds. The setting of one is in the Gupta dynasty, when the White Huns invaded India and the other is a modern-day setting. Both the narratives meet at a junction keeping the focus on the fictional story about the origin of chess, the Chaturanga

The story begins in 455 AD in Central India when the Svetahunas managed to capture Harshavardhana, a great warrior of the Gupta dynasty. The description of the battlefield, introduction of the Ashtapada, the historical characters like Skandagupta, lucid language, and event sequencing was excellently handled. The involvement of Kalidasa, the famed poet, added essence to the historical plot of the story. The title fits well for both the eras as the characters strive to survive and win in their game. Editing too, was well taken care as no major flaws caught my attention. The story has a fresh aspect to the battles fought long ago. Merging the plot ad giving it an interesting end, impressed me the most.

The next shift introduced Vinita, who receives a call to return to India after her father’s mysterious death. She was a lady who defied the norms to start her career in NYC, after refusing to join her father’s multi-billion dollar empire. Vinita’s determination and efficiency was well portrayed. Once back, she was left to unravel her father’s secret obsession for chess. Juggling between her two worlds, she manages to balance the corporate duties of her own organisation in NYC while searching for the truth about her father’s death. To join the dots, she stepped out in search of the answers. Her travels around India, and her turmoil’s were well balanced. The suspense was steady throughout the story. The authors efforts to carefully pen each character is appreciative. What I found irrelevant was the author mentioning about the brands of the phone and bag in particular. I failed to find any relevance henceforth. But, it was just a minor point and the readers might just overlook it.

The blend between the historical facts and the present day events was intelligently synchronized. A good blend of the two eras that led to a thriller that is surely interesting and an unputdownable one. The story is a treat for the chess lovers as it speaks much about the perfect moves and well laid plans. Overall, a gripping story, and definitely a leaf-turner. It’s a must read for people who love thriller stories, chess and history.


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