India has too much to offer to an author looking for inspiration to write a novel, poem or a grand epic. Many authors in the past have used the vast resource our country offers without any bias. I have read a novel by Anu Kay recently – Like the Radiant Sun. This novel also utilises the same grand source of inspiration, India. Anu Kay has written about ancient Indian wisdom, knowledge of sages and scholars about different aspects of life and life itself, and a grand old manuscript, Marma Kala, that the novel props as being written by Shiva himself, the Hindu God of creation and destruction. In short, the novel has a quality storyline that feeds upon its thriller elements, suspense and mystery, and an exciting series of events.
The book begins on a high note of engagement and we are introduced to the protagonist named Rohan who is a professor, interested in history and archaeology. He visits India, Kashi, on a temple restoration project. Things get awry when he is given a manuscript by someone he witnesses being murdered by some strange assailant using a very distinct method – later he discovers it was Marma Kala, the manuscript as well as the method used to murder that temple priest.
Marma Kala remains, thereafter, at the centre of the happenings and never fades out of the storyline. Many characters appear and disappear accordingly as planned by Anu Kay, the novelist. A few remain constant – Rohan, Neela, and Nayar. Rohan and Neela are the duos on a mission to safeguard the manuscript from going into the wrong hands. Neela’s character is mysterious, agnostic, and powerful and she does not expose her qualities to anyone. Rohan is always curious about her, perhaps romantically as well.
The novel has many philosophical segments of exchanges between characters, mostly featuring Neela and Rohan. They mull on life, ancient wisdom, bygone philosophy and so on. Readers with an eye for such knowledge will like such conversations. The novel does not allow any reader to let their eyes off because events keep on coming one after another. There is a series of murders that happens around Neela and Rohan. Rohan’s life is also in danger but he is being rescued and saved by Neela on many occasions. Towards the end, there are many interesting episodes that will add a fitting conclusion to the novel.
Going beyond content, Anu Kay’s Like the Radiant Sun is a novel that brings ancient wisdom to the fore and speculates about the Indian form of Martial Arts. The novel argues that Indians discovered Martial Arts and took it to new heights with the knowledge of Marma Kala. Marma Kala descended directly from Shiva, the first Yogi and the preserver and destroyer of the world. The novel takes the readers to places like Nalanda University, Kashi, a few foreign countries and other places. However, the centre is in Kashi and occasionally in New Delhi where Rohan goes for consulting with his friends.
I would have suggested a better version of the narrative – two people narrate the story. One is Rohan and the second is up for speculation. It might confuse the readers at times. The language is very good and it can accommodate the readers across the spectrum of readership, without any age barrier. The characters are amazingly done and you will find them very useful for the plot and the storyline. The protagonist and antagonist are developed in the right direction with their motifs well-assigned.
Arguably, the novel is more interesting than many other mythological and historical fictions I have read. Unlike my previous reads, this novel is not dull and inane. It offers a very engaging timeline of events and keeps the readers excited instead of boring them with rhetorics. Action happens. Incidents take place. An adventure is continuing. A quest is always on. And that’s what readers demand in the books they read.
You can get a copy of the novel from Amazon India by clicking the link below:
Review by V Jha for ReadByCritics Blog
Like the Radiant Sun by Anu Kay – Book Review
Like the Radiant Sun by Anu Kay is a fantasy, mythology and historical novel that brings to the fore the forgotten Marma Kala manuscript and a run for its surviving copy. Interesting and very exciting!