Review: Immortal by Krishna Udayasankar

Immortal by Krishna Udayasankar

Professor Bharadvaj is more than just another whisky-loving, gun-toting historian-for-hire. Behind the assumed identity of the cynical academic is a man who has walked the earth for scores of years. He is Asvatthama - the cursed immortal, the man who cannot die.
When Professor Bharadvaj is approached by the enigmatic Maya Jervois to search for a historical artifact unlike any other, he is reluctant to pursue it. The object in question, the Vajra, is rumored to possess incredible alchemical powers, but the Professor does not believe it exists. After all, he has spent many lifetimes - and identities - searching for it, in a bid to unearth the secret to his unending life.

Yet, as the evidence of its existence becomes increasingly compelling, the Professor is plunged into an adrenaline-fueled adventure that takes him from the labyrinthine passages beneath the Somnath temple to the legendary home of the siddhas in the Nilgiris, and finally into the deserts of Pakistan to solve a confounding puzzle left behind by the ancients.

But who is behind the dangerous mercenaries trying to thwart his discoveries at every step? And is the Professor - a legendary warrior in a long-ago life – cursed to walk the path of death and bloodshed forever?

Professor Bharadvaj has a secret; a secret he has been keeping all his life, which is saying something considering he's the legendary warrior Asvatthama from the time of Mahabharatha. The author portrays his character in a beautiful manner showing us his personality with every word he says and every thing he does. He is a man haunted by his past and looking for answers to his immortality. His knowledge of the history is extensive, considering he has lived through it all. At many points in the story, the Professor tells us of various things that happened in the history (Or rather, as the author calls it, mythohistory) which was interesting to read about.

Manohar, Maya Jervois, Hari, and the other secondary characters all play a pivotal roles in the story but I feel I can't talk much about them without giving away spoilers.

Maya Jervois has one of the three pieces of the Vajra; an object said to have alchemical powers which was made by the famous alchemist Nagarjuna. She wants the Professor to help her unearth the remaining two pieces. The Professor initially does not believe that such an object exists but he is pulled in by his own curiosity. He has spent thousands of years trying to find answers to his immortality and the Vajra might have an answer.

What follows is a quest that leads the Proffesor, his handsome assistant Manohar and the mysterious Maya to various historic places in an attempt to find the Vajra. Along the way, the Professor tells us about various historic events across the world and how he was a part of it. He is a warrior who has fought in just about every war since the epic war in Kurukshetra. Fighting is as much a part of him as breathing is. His take on the wars of the world and other important events is interesting to learn about.

I loved how the author blended science and myth to explain various things mentioned in mythology. All these play a huge role in the unraveling of the plot. While I felt certain things were predictable, there were nevertheless twists in the story I definitely did not see coming.

The writing is wonderful and I loved the flow of the story despite certain words that made me scramble for the dictionary or turn to Google. Other than that, the writing is smooth and expressive. The author creates wonderful imagery with her descriptions that made me want to travel to the places the author mentions in the book.

- The characters
- The plot
- The writing
- The Mythohistory

- The predictability of certain happenings in the story.

A wonderfully written thriller that brings together fact, fiction, mythology and philosophy in a smooth manner. I will definitely be picking up more books by the author.

View all my reviews