The story starts in an interesting note with the murder of Anil Varshney by Taarak Vakil, who since his childhood was made to believe that he is the final avatar of Vishnu- the Kalki by his guru, addressed as Mataji. Her personal intentions are revealed later on as the plot moves forward. The primary motive of the duo is to hunt out for the Krishna Key, which is a set of four seals, all identical to each other on which are engraved motifs of a bull, unicorn and a goat. The Krishna Key is said to be the doorway to the most powerful energy on earth.
Anil Varshney, before the murder sends three of the four seals to his friends Ravi Mohan Saini, Rajaram Kurkude and Devendra Chhedi, keeping one with himself. Before the murder, professor Saini happens to visit Anil Varshney, making him the prime suspect. The remainder of the story is an account of the journey of Saini with his doctoral student Priya, the hide and seek between the different characters and a set of carefully designed twists and turns.
The story narrates the life of Krishna in parallel with the modern drama, the former preceding the latter at the start of every chapter. Both the parallel stories are made to blend with each other. The pace of narration of the story of Krishna has been carefully planned to enable the reader to connect it with the present day story.
The narration is dramatic and one gets the feel of watching a movie in a theatre. The reader is made to swing between the past and the present in a comfortable way, when moving back into the lives of the characters, providing a rational basis for their behaviour and actions.
The twists and turns are many and evenly placed at the correct moments when the reader would be in need of one. The reader is hinted at the twists quite often as the story proceeds. When it’s time to unveil the sudden turn of events, it is done and extracts are quoted from the preceding part of the story to enable one to immerse in the joy of having noticed them earlier or signalling the reader to take note of details atleast from then!
The descriptive style at times hurts. At a few places, one would be eagerly waiting for the description of the characters and of the surroundings to end and the narration to begin. The second negative thing is the unevenness with which historical facts have been blended into the story in the form of conversations between the characters. While one expects to see them in a historical thriller, the second half, especially the ending is overcrowded with them. And finally, at two places the names of characters have been erroneously printed. One would definitely read the last few pages over and over again searching for details he or she would have overlooked, given the unexpected twist of events, particularly that of Praia’s.
Ashwin Sanghi needs to be appreciated for the intense research done which is clearly visible in the final product and the book is a must read for all with the exception of those few unending pages, which would be of no interest to the ones who were backbenchers in the history classes at school.