- Author: Harini Srinivasan
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Paperback: 296 pages
- Publisher: TreeShade Books (28 April 2019)
- Language: English
Circa 403 C.E. In the thriving city of Nandivardhana, lives Shaunaka, a young man who yearns to go to Pataliputra to see the world and make his fortune. But he is forced to join his father’s jewelry making business and soon finds himself in the workshop — a job in which his heart clearly did not lie. Thankfully, along comes distraction in the form of two extravagant Weddings — royal nuptials at the palace and another wedding at the extravagant corner house in the Buddhist quarter of the city. This house, known for its opulence and sheer size, is owned by Vinayashura, an affluent trader fabled to have a mysteriously deep connection to the royal family. Shaunaka is given the charge to work on the bride’s jewelry at the corner house, but instead of the mundane task at hand, a morbid sight awaits — The Trader’s wife’s bloodcurdling screams bring Shaunaka to Vinayashura’s bedroom where he is found murdered and lying in a pool of blood!
Who killed Vinayashura? Why? Shaunaka finds himself at the heart of the mystery and his logic and keen observation skills land him the duty of assisting the head of police to solve this murder.
The Curse of Anuganga is set in the small village of Nandivardhana around Vakataka-Gupta period (3rd century CE) which is considered to be a magnificent one – an age of intellectual renaissance, peace, prosperity, and cultural stability. A gripping historical thriller awaits us as we step in the village where a malicious conspiracy is brewing inside the palace and in the house of an affluent trader. How a murder mystery would be solved forms the backbone of the book.
The book kicked off really well. To be honest, I didn’t anticipate a murder mystery lying ahead (because I didn’t read the blurb) but the plot moved in a way that I was surprised to find the twist. The description of each and everything – right from the places, palaces, people in the form of well-crafted character sketches, brewing up of the mystery – was delightful. I especially fell in love with the usage of fine language consisting of indigenous words. The conversations of the characters were descriptive and seemed real. A suitable storyline is created and developed around the historical events which engage its readers with its lucid writing. The climax was jaw-dropping fo me for I couldn’t really imagine it to be a truth.
What didn’t work for me was the title. The mention of the curse of Anuganga comes just once for a fleeting moment towards the end of the book. The entire story was revolving around our trader’s murder but nowhere this place called Anuganga came into the picture to which he was strongly related. Also, at certain points, I found the book dragged and dull. Too much detail or beating around the bush could take your attention away from the story. I felt this happening to me. However, the cover is beautiful in its truest sense. It is highly attractive. Overall, the book is worth a chance for nice writing and good research on historical aspects.
MY RATING: 3.5/ 5
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