Monday, March 03, 2014

Book Review: The Taj Conspiracy by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar


Book: The Taj Conspiracy

Author: Manreet Sodhi Someshwar

No. of Pages: 402

Genre: Fiction, thriller

Publisher: Westland Publishing 


The title had seemed pretty interesting and the book blurb caught my attention and so I ordered it online. But that was 15 months ago. This had been lying in the ‘to-read’ pile but somehow never got picked up till now.

A request to review another book by the same author reminded me of this and I also found that this book and the one published now are part of a trilogy. So before I read (and review) the second, I got to pick up the first.

I had read the ‘conspiracy theory’ about the Taj Mahal being a Shiva Temple by the name Tejo Mahal and I am sure you might have read that too. Taking that one article and weaving a very good engaging story around it is what Manreet has accomplished.

Few authors are able to captivate you in the first few pages of the book. It’s a rare art and once the author’s manage to do that … the stakes and expectations are high and they got to live up to it through the entire book. Manreet captivated my attention in the first 4 pages of the Taj Conspiracy. 

This happened … in spite of the Da Vinci like clichéd start of having a man murdered in a famous monument with signs drawn in blood. Thankfully, the similarity ended there.

Manreet indeed has very captivating writing style which continues to hold the reader throughout the book. The story moves at a decent pace but the writing is such that you are involved and engulfed by it … and there is enough suspense about the different characters to hold you.

There are some very interesting characters, each with their own past and present with some very interesting character quirks. One of the senior members of the cast is losing his memory while the police officers and secret service agents have their own unique style and character.

There is one character with villainous inclination … he is not only deformed and horrible to look at with a practically feature-less ghastly face but the ‘main’ villain has a terribly devious bend of mind.

And then there are characters in between … with different shades of gray. You keep wondering if they are the ones behind the whole mess.

These characters, positive as well as negative, stay with you throughout the book and you will tend to remember them long after the book is finished.

The book cover design was OK. Pretty much the entire space was covered by the book name (smeared in blood) and the author name with a silhouette of the Taj Mahal occupying the top one-third of the cover space. Nice but not great.

Ratings on Book Review Parameters:

Cover Design: 3.0 / 5

Writing Style: 4.0 / 5

Characters:     4.0 / 5

Story / Plot:     3.5 / 5

Climax:            3.0 / 5

Overall:           3.5 / 5   

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