Sunday, April 14, 2013

Book Review: The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi

Book: The Rozabal Line

Author: Ashwin Sanghi

No. of Pages: 346

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller

Publisher: Publishing

For me, The Rozabal Line was a jumbo combo of pleasant-and-not-so-pleasant surprise after the disappointment called 'The Krishna Key'. I had ordered The Rozabal Line and Chankaya Chant almost a year ago but somehow never picked them up to read. The Krishna Key came up for review and I read it, only to be disappointed by it … further delaying my reading of the 2 novels which I had already purchased. A reminder by my best friend made me read it. She wanted Rozabal so I thought let me read and give it to her and I am glad I did. Note: I said 'glad' not 'happy'.

It is not an easy book to read. It does not have a simple plot which can be explained to somebody without confusing them OR without giving them a feeling that this novel is a khichdi or a hotchpotch of several formulae for successful best-selling chartbuster novels.

This novel has several elements; let me recount a few:

·        The story spans across continents barring the Antarctic and Arctic …

·        The story spans across a huge timeline … from present day to timelines Before Christ …

·        The story brings together and rather connects Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam …

·        Story has several Terrorists (including the world famous one) so we have quite a bit of terrorism

·        End of the World Scenario – Mayan Calendar Doomsday – 21st Dec 2012

·        Past Life Regression and lives of several characters tangled with each other across several lives spanning the length of the timeline mentioned above

·        A beautiful and very efficient female assassin – fem fatale – kills many and then, unbelievably, emerges on the 'right' side … justifying her acts.

·        Symbology – some interesting, some plain simple stupid – almost as if you are hell bent on connecting things and symbols. Calling the Hindu Swastika an opened-up form of the David's Six Pointed Star and imagining Krishna being similar to Christ'na and many more such 'connections and relationships'

·        Riddles and Poems to be cracked for the code … quite meaningless at times.  

·        Usual Suspects: Illuminati, Opus Dei, and some new names of the same league

·        The POTUS (President of the US) and the Indian Prime Minister

·        Intelligence Agencies from US, Russia, India, Pakistan …

·        Trinity Overload – Father, Son and Holy Ghost; Brahma Vishnu Mahesh; Laxmi Saraswati Kali …

·        Several hundred characters (literally). The story spanning continents and timelines helps to assemble a cast of characters which keep hopping in and out of the pages and you have no clue if a character that appeared for half a paragraph or just one sentence, will ever appear again in the story.

·        Way too many things connected together from different parts of the globe, different religions, different eras and so on … way to confusing. Too many threads in the story and the author seems to be so hell bent on connecting them that it has resulted in flimsy knots all over the reader's head.  

·        Unfortunately … that is not all and there are several more elements in the story that make a hotchpotch that causes severe indigestion.  

Ashwin has done a lot of research and it is evident when you are reading the story … but what happened after that is he tried to connect them all into one big conspiracy theory. The connections turn out to be flimsy and are unable to convince the average reader; although I am sure there are many who will consider Ashwin nothing sort of a Genius and feel that the likes of Dan Brown are nothing compared to him. But of course, there is the other lot which will write-off Ashwin as someone who managed to create a confused mystery. I, incidentally, fall into this second category which is not impressed by Ashwin's work.

Mind You … Rozabal had a lot of potential and had all the makings of a real bestseller which would have sold millions of copies world-wide and not just in India. When I started reading it, I really felt this was an absolutely awesome piece of work and I was mistaken to delay the reading for almost a year. But as I progressed through the book, the novel's grip on me began to loosen and towards the end, I was left with a tangled mess/mass of threads in my head.

I still have the 3rd one from Ashwin - Chankaya's Chant – to read and write about. And I am thinking of getting over it soon …

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely agree with your thoughts ... however, you'll be "happily" surprise when you'll read chanakya chant ... I read chanakya ... first and then read Rosabel and krishna .. and was ghastly disappointed ...