Book Name: The Emperor’s Riddles
Author: Satyarth Nayak
More terrifying than the savage murder of historian Ram Mathur on the ghats of Ganga, are the questions that follow. Desperate for answers, Sia turns to esoteric writer & friend Om Patnaik. But what begins as a hunt for the killer, becomes an extraordinary trail of riddles strewn across the country, that must end at the gates of an enigma.
An ancient enigma so powerful that even gods would kill for it!!!
In another time and space, rules an Emperor who plays with phenomenal forces that make him supreme…who faces these very forces when they threaten the survival of the human race. An Emperor who must ultimately pay homage to the enigma…
As Patnaik and Sia race from one riddle to another, towards a royal secret that has remained alive for centuries….will the final truth, save them or destroy them forever?
The path beckons. Can you solve The Emperor’s Riddles?
Okay, I am going to stay as much unbiased as possible. Because I am an ardent fan of theological thrillers. So, I tend to concentrate more on the positives in such a thriller than the negative. But the case will be different with this book. To begin with, this is Satyarth Nayak’s debut novel. In an era where debut authors are choosing the genres of romance, young adult and chick-lit for their debut, Satyarth has bravely opted for a genre that has the potential to go astray, if not handled well. He makes sure that all the needed elements are appropriately fed to the readers. The conspiracy is not overdone, neither does it confuse the readers. Based on an age long secret, Satyarth has woven an innovative story. The facts are well-researched and it would surely not bring a smirk on the faces of historians or other theological writers. Satyarth has ingeniously collected the information, partitioned them and applied modern tropes to them. The riddles are cleverly constructed. You can have fun solving them, if you’re enthusiastic about them. The entire plotline has the ability to arise questions within us, for which answers are provided in the Buddhist sections of the tale.
Moving on to the characterizations, I liked the characters of Sia Mathur and Om Patnaik. They are the ones who take the story forward. Both the characters are strongly written and they’re sure to leave an impact on the readers. The other characters Jasodhara, Suri and Alia too share equal space with the protagonists. But I felt that the character of Scorpion was underwritten. The revelation about him at the end was not satisfying. However, Satyarth covers it up with yet another stunning revelation, which brings an unexpected twist to the story.
The only slip in the story is the Emperor’s part. Since it is not chronologically written, it confused me a lot. Maybe, if the Emperor’s sections were read as separate parts, it would’ve made sense. But, pertaining to the original storyline, this was where the author faltered. Even the Buddhist sections are difficult to comprehend initially. You can understand terms like ‘Tathagata’, ‘Bhante’, ‘Bhikku’ and ‘Samanera’, only if you have read about Buddha or Buddhism. But you get used to it as the story progresses.
Summing up, ‘The Emperor’s Riddles’ is an amazing read, if you’re looking for fast-paced mystery thrillers. Satyarth Nayak should be appreciated for choosing an offbeat genre and excelling at it.
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