Professor Bharadvaj is more than just another whisky-loving, gun-toting historian-for-hire. Behind the assumed identity of the cynical academic is a man who has walked the earth for scores of years. He is Asvatthama – the cursed immortal, the man who cannot die.
When Professor Bharadvaj is approached by the enigmatic Maya Jervois to search for a historical artefact unlike any other, he is reluctant to pursue it. The object in question, the Vajra, is rumoured to possess incredible alchemical powers, but the Professor does not believe it exists. After all, he has spent many lifetimes – and identities – searching for it, in a bid to unearth the secret to his unending life.
Yet, as the evidence of its existence becomes increasingly compelling, the Professor is plunged into an adrenaline-fuelled adventure that takes him from the labyrinthine passages beneath the Somnath temple to the legendary home of the siddhas in the Nilgiris, and finally into the deserts of Pakistan to solve a confounding puzzle left behind by the ancients.
But who is behind the dangerous mercenaries trying to thwart his discoveries at every step? And is the Professor – a legendary warrior in a long-ago life – cursed to walk the path of death and bloodshed forever?
About the Book
Immortal uses the seeds of old myths to create new ones, not unlike Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. The story that is told is a gritty, contemporary one that takes place in the contradictory urban squalor that is India, with a plot that references a vast array of world myths. Centred around Asvatthama Bharadvaj or Asva – a character cursed to immortality according to an ancient Indian myth. The story places him in the here and now, where he must solve an ancient mystery using clues hidden deep in history and myth in a Da Vinci Code manner – but not without a fair share of thrilling action and adventure, and a good dose of snappy dialogue and Asva’s snide but irresistible mannerism.
Predominantly a first-person narrative, the prologue being the exception, the story of Immortal features other strong key characters, such as Maya Jervois, the client who starts Asva off on his adventure, Manohar, the young assistant whom Asva insists on describing as his colleague, and of course, a dangerous and not easily-identified villain.
The plot of Immortal moves at a breathtaking pace, though without compromise on detail – be it the smells and sounds of a city today or historical references to events from ages past. Finishing strong with multiple unexpected twists, this book delivers at many levels, engaging with readers who want a good, adventurous read as much as with those who would pause to enjoy the language and the ruminations on human nature and life that go on inside the unique – and undeniably sexy – protagonist’s head.