Title : The Secret Of The Nagas (Book II of Shiva Trilogy)
Author : Amish Tripathi
Publisher : Westland
ISBN : 978-93-80658-79-7
I guess all are wary of the sequels, the part II's, the Dwitiyas(seconds) and the following versions, for the simple reason (well supported by statistics)that usually the same seem like the diluted versions which let the expectations down, they even let the impressions of the first one fade away. So all these anticipations and apprehensions were there when I picked the second book of the 'Shiva Trilogy'(Book I - The Immortals of Meluha, reviewed here).
The initial one-third of the story did not stir much emotions inside me. Perhaps the expectations were too high. The story was going on pretty well, in fact, very fast paced but I was desperately missing the euphoria, the magic that I felt many times while reading 'The Immortals of Meluha'. Oh well, I thought, it is indeed not easy to replicate anything, then how could I expect the same magic getting replicated in the sequel too. But all my apprehensions and fears were put to rest the moment the identities of Naga queen and the Lord of the People are revealed. After that the story just soars high in the space, which Amish has made his readers used to.
Neelkanth's mission to find the evil and destroy it continues in the second book. He has to avenge the murder of his dear friend Brihaspathi and identify the mysterious Naga who is chasing Sati. Shiva's sojourn to find the answers to unanswered mysteries lead him and his entourage to many different places - Swadeepan, Kashi, Branga land and to the land of Nagas which has been very secretly guarded by the Naga Queen and the Lord of the People. Shiva gets to understand, experience and learn the fundamental duality of life, the inseparability of evil and good, the coexistence of masculine and feminine part in the universe, futility of preconceived notions, deception of first appearances, imperfections in perfection, scope of virtue in imperfection, significance and need of both evil and good, and much more.
Our hero, the Shiva in second book has matured into a much more assured person, having taken the role of being a saviour comfortably now, in comparison to the unsure rustic tribal Shiva who was introduced to us in the first book. The abuses coming out of his mouth are also contained to minimum.
However, I did not understand the significance of the word 'Nagas' for the people who are actually banished Suryavanshis or Chandravanshis born with physical deformities or abnormalities. They have their own kingdom Panchvati, which is a secret place in deep jungles.
I would say the way the second book ends is not like how the first ended in terms of level of curiosity the first managed to raise. People who read the first book, would surely want to read the second but not sure about the third. Personally, I would want to see how the saga ends because I usually pursue things till their logical conclusions. But there is no doubt about the fact that this journey has been very enriching and fulfilling for all the characters of the story, primarily Neelkantha and all the readers too.
I specifically liked the parts when Shiva is guided by the Vasudevs in a veiled manner. The cover pages of both the books are quite impressive too.
I must compliment the author for having weaved the philosophy of the evil and good so charmingly with the adventure and thrill part. The adventure gives pace to the story while the philosophy part brings the much needed pondering breaks, the opportunity to assimilate and absorb what has been going on in the story.
This story has deeply influenced and impressed me. The almighty seems to have become a little more approachable and accessible to me. I guess, it is all in our minds.