~ Book Blast ~
About the book:
The Third Yuga is slowly drawing to a close. Nam – the greatest Empire on Janani – is going to face some fierce winds of change. Seers foresee omens of death and destruction in the return of the Banished One – A God who will claim the ashes of this world as revenge. While out in the streets, rumours abound - of older forgotten powers stirring.
Caught in this maelstrom of a power struggle between Gods are three ordinary lives: General Fateh, the most celebrated soldier in Nam who starts to question his faith, Ishan – a gifted orphan who struggles to comprehend his destiny and Abhaya – a young monk in search of truths about this world. Their choices and actions will shape the destiny of this scarred world that becomes the playground for vindictive Gods.
In a world where Rakshasas arise out of left-over traces of Maaya and twilight forms the portal to countless worlds around us for Daityas and Yakshis to dance through, a God is only as powerful as those who believe.And when Gods rise, faith of men will be tested…And broken.
Read an Excerpt:
Somewhere deep within the palace, wind chimes were
ringing like crazy, deep and sonorous, like temple bells gone rogue. Bajah
rushed through the dimly lit long corridors of the palace, her heart hammering
inside her. If she didn’t reach her lady in time, she was doomed, and so was
The child! Was it really going to be as foretold in
the Apocrypha? Then again, the Book of Truths just pointed out the various
branches of the future; the one branch on which they would walk wasn’t
disclosed. Could she choose? Could anyone choose? She was confused and afraid.
All she knew was that she had to get to Lady Anuskaya, and alone and terrified
within the Confinement, she would go crazy and not be able to manage the
childbirth. The thought brought chills to her mind. If the Inner Council were
to know that one of the Blessed acolytes was pregnant, then they would both be
executed; the acolyte and the unborn child. Nobody broke this cardinal rule.
Bajah still didn’t know who the father was, but that was the last thing on her
mind. She had to save her mistress, and
the thought gnawed away at her soul like a flesh-worm. Would she be able to
manage on her own?
The bells tolling in the distance urged her on. Her
light feet pattered soundlessly, flying past the carpeted walkway. Suddenly,
her balance shifted. Something snagged against her cloak, tightening up against
her throat as she slipped forwards. She croaked, her helpless arms flailing and
soundless screams stifled as the cloak tightened. Someone had tripped her and
was trying to strangle her! The pressure suddenly let up and she slipped.
The carpeted floor slammed into the side of her face
and her cloak ripped as she rolled away. A dark figure stepped out of the
crevasse in the wall, the lamp in hand obscuring the face in the gloomy
shadows. A falsetto voice greeted her.
“Little birdie, flitting freely, flying fast, you
won’t last … so sit awhile and rest your pile.”
The lamp swung in her face, as the person squatted
down and peered at her. In the dark, a pair of wolfish white teeth shone
through, leering at her. She knew the
voice. Cheema Okuri—a guard inside the Shikshadhaam, the House of Learning,
where acolytes lived. A kill dog for his masters at the Inner Council.
“Do you like the poem? I made it … as a paean for you.
Maybe I will coach the cook to sing it for your funeral, huh?” He grinned,
swinging the lamp. The shadows played hide and seek on his face. “Pruksa’s
blessings, little birdie, you really oughta slow down. Don’t you know, the
corridors within Shikshadhaam are treacherous places? Nasty places where you
slip and break your neck ... you follow, li’l birdie?”
“What do you want, Cheema?” Bajah sat up, mustering as
much dignity as she could.
“What I want … ah! No time for social chit chats, I
see?” He squatted down, bringing his face closer to her’s. “You seemed to be in
a tearing hurry, and that set my warning bells a-tingling, Bajah Sudhanshu. You
know that feeling, don’t you? When this multi-legged creature walks up and down
your spine, your heart beats faster and you’re left feeling a little dry in the
mouth. It’s called suspicion. And
when I see birdies trying to take flight without letting me know, then somethin’ don’t add up right. Must I remind you that
within the confines of the Dhaam, anything that flies, flies with just one
wing, the other being busy protecting itself, lest it get shot down? Ye with me
so far, li’l birdie?”
Bajah nodded, dull fear thudding through her like
bellows in a forge. Did he know about the
lady? Did the council suspect? Displaying an outwardly calm that she didn’t
feel at all, Bajah stood up, “Cheema, you are not threatening me now, are you?”
Cheema laughed, “I always maintained that birdies
oughta be caged. Nooo, li’l birdie, I am not threatening you. Charged with
keeping the acolytes safe within the Dhaam, this hurried flight of yours
ruffled quite a few feathers on the upper levels. I’m just a messenger, birdie.
Just like you. So, now … d’ye want to tell me where ye’re flying with such
Bajah turned her back onto Cheema, making sure he
didn’t see the flint of fear that sparked in her eyes. “Lady Anuskaya’s been
taken sick. She wanted me to bring her the Book of Solace and fetch the Castle Vaidyas to care for her.”
“The Book? An acolyte demanded for the Book?” Cheema’s
tone had an edge to it that Bajah hated, the tone twisting in her gut like a
stuck knife. ‘Does this lowly guard know that the acolytes aren’t allowed to
read the Book, not without one of the priests around?’ Cheema’s sharp question
brought her back to the rain-lashed parapet of the castle.
“So what are you doing here? The Haveli is to the North. The gardens ought to be the
easiest route to the Haveli to get the Book?”
“I have to collect the Lady’s medicines,” Bajah lied,
her face taut. Cheema nodded, holding the lights over the handrails, peering
out into the cold night, “Some kind of a freak windstorm whipping in from the
Odhaan. You ought to keep indoors and not take this route. I will accompany you
to the living quarters. Oh wait, where’s the Book?”
Bajah bit her lips, blanched white with fear. This
wasn’t going good. As with the windstorm and the rain Gods, this was fast going
downhill. Mists of raindrops sprayed onto her face as the winds shifted. The
sky cleaved, as purplish lightning crashed and rolled across the clouds. The
smell of acrid burnt ozone hung heavy on the parapet as Bajah’s heart raced. A
sudden gust of wind swept across and doused the lantern lights, blanketing the
corridor in complete darkness. Cheema cursed over the sounds of wind ripping
through the dark hallway, the curtains near the far oaken doors billowing and
flapping hard. He knelt down to light the fuse inside the lantern.
It was now or never.
About the Author:
Sachin discovered Tolkien in his teens, alternative rock as a new adult and digital marketing in pretty much his late twenties. These still form a large wedge in his circle of life. Travel, radio and theatre have also figured in that ever-expanding and diminishing circle.
On perhaps a more prosaic note, he is an engineer from BITS Pilani and holds an MBA from Indian School of Business. Attribute the love for numbers and pie-charts to this. He is currently based in Bangalore and happily married to Harini. He spends an inordinately large amount of time chasing after his two dogs (who love the free life a bit too much) when he is not busy dreaming up fantasy worlds full of monsters. And beautiful Yakshis, of course.
He can usually be found ranting on twitter under the handle @xenosach, devouring books and talking about them on his blog. You can always stalk him online at his official website.