Immortal is the story of an immortal, Prof.Baradhwaj, who is actually Asvatthama. But as he is immortal he’s had to take up various “avatars” as different characters so as to not arouse the suspicion of people. This time around he’d chosen a gun toting, whiskey loving historian who is an expert “recoverer”. As with most thriller books the character’s past catches up with them and this one is no different. Only instead of him doing something in his past, it is the fact that he has such a long past that causes issues.
The story kicks off with the professor rethinking his life as it is and wondering if he should make a change when Manohar, his right hand man, calls with news of a particular client with a particularly peculiar request. Maya Jervois, a woman who claims to help wealthy historically inclined clients find items that they have their heart set on, comes to meet him the next day at his office with news of a Vajra.
This Vajra cannot exist to the professor because he himself has been hunting for the powerful alchemic tool for centuries, yet, she has proof that it does and before you know it, someone else wants it too. Someone unscrupulous and shady who won’t stop at anything to get their hands on the Vajra and the professor.
I really enjoyed characterisation of these people quite a bit, particularly Manohar who just steals your heart from day one leaving you itching to reach into the book and pinch his cheek. The professor is impressive as well, cough *book crush* cough, and makes me wish that this is just book one of what will hopefully be a series as long as the Alex Cross series. While the female character was naggy and whiny, there is a reason for it which you will learn as you keep reading.
The story itself was intriguing. While I don’t particularly care about alchemy or mythological rumours, I found myself rooting for the professor, urging him to run and hide and do something, anything, to get away from the bad guys. (You’re immortal dammit, do something!) And the landscape is varied as well, with historical locations, caves, waterbodies, and jackals and everything else turning against them, he is exactly the Indiana Jones type that he claims he isn’t.
Krishna Udayasankar’s writing is so alive that in scenes where they were in danger of suffocating I found myself in a panic (I’m claustrophobic and Hydrophobic) and had to take a breathing break and go stand in an open space. I do think the search was a little dragged out with a couple of unnecessary turns but knowing the author’s reputation as a researcher there is probably a solid reason for the extra events, a significance that mythologically uneducated me cannot comprehend.
In the end you’ll shed a tear and sit with your mouth open at what’s happening. I can’t wait to read more of the professor. All in all, this is Dan Brown meets Indian Mythology and what a ride it is. An excellent choice to read this winter if you feel like snuggling into your sheets with a hot chocolate (or whiskey) and a thrilling read to keep your toes curled.
‘Death is certain for all who are born…or is it?
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 artefact unlike any other, he is reluctant to pursue it. The object in question, the Vajra, is rumoured 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-fuelled 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?
*Thanks to the publishers for providing me a review copy. Opinions expressed are mine.
You can buy Immortal on Amazon India.