Book Review: The Vault Of Vishnu by Ashwin Sanghi


Book Title: The Vault of Vishnu
Author: Ashwin Sanghi

Book Title:
The title of the book  ‘The Vault of Vishnu‘ is interesting and mysterious

Book Cover:
The cover image of the book is an attractive image of a sword with Chinese letters engraved. The image doesn’t much explain anything about the story until one completes reading it.

About the author:

Ashwin Sanghi ranks among India’s highest-selling English fiction authors. He has written several bestsellers (The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key, The Sialkot Saga, Keepers of the Kalachakra) and two New York Times bestselling crime thrillers with James Patterson, Private India (sold in the US as City on Fire) and Private Delhi (sold in the US as Count to Ten). He has also co-authored several non-fiction titles in the 13 Steps series on Luck, Wealth, Marks, Health and Parenting.

Ashwin has been included by Forbes India in its Celebrity 100. He is a winner of the Crossword Popular Choice Award 2012, Amazon India Top-10 eBook 2018, Atta Galatta Popular Choice Award 2018, WBR Iconic Achievers Award 2018, and the Lit-O-Fest Literature Legend Award 2018.

He was educated at Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai, and St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. He holds an MBA from Yale University. Ashwin lives in Mumbai with his wife, Anushika, and his son, Raghuvir.

About the book:
A Pallava prince travels to Cambodia to be crowned king, carrying with him secrets that will be the cause of great wars many centuries later. A Buddhist monk in ancient China treks south to India, searching for the missing pieces of a puzzle that could make his emperor all-powerful. A Neolithic tribe fights to preserve their sacred knowledge, oblivious to the war drums on the Indo-China border. Meanwhile, far away in the temple town of Kanchipuram, a reclusive scientist deciphers ancient texts even as a team of secret agents shadows his every move. Caught in the storm is a young investigator with a complex past of her own, who must race against time to maintain the balance of power in the new world.

Welcome back to the exciting and shadowy world of Ashwin Sanghi, where myth and history blend into edge-of-the-seat action.

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My review:
Another awesome book from the greatest storyteller is what I call this book. The Vault of Vishnu though sounds religious or mythological, is the myth-fiction with lots of history and facts in it at its best.

Before reading this book, I have read all his previous works and The Krishna Key is what I have re-read at least 3 times. What stands unique is Ashwin’s style of narrating fiction points added perfectly with the known facts. It would take a complete day if I start explaining how much his previous books have impressed me. Fun apart, this book delves into the most interesting concept of Indo-China relationship since ages to date at this wee hours pandemic.

This book has a main plot with many subplots in it. As it is a known thing that the author Ashwin is famous for the storyboard style of writing, this book also brings multiple plots that will intersect at a particular point which will surprise the readers. While connecting all the loose threads, the thrill a reader feels in combining the loose ends and the relationships between the characters is much lauded. Once can make mind maps mentally while reading. Such storytelling will remain in a reader’s memory for a long time.

Though at some places I felt the story is dragged, there are also places where I wanted to salute the writer in him. It will be foolish on my part if I don’t thank and appreciate the author for the kind of research he has done to bring a good story.

Read Also: Book Review: Amma Mia by Esha Deol Takhtani

The story starts with the incident at Doklam. The kind of fight the Indian soldiers experience from the Chinese brings many surprising questions. A young and dynamic woman, Paramjit Khurana aka Pam working at DRDO is summoned to understand and analyze the situation. Indian soldiers suspect a very mysterious or rather super human kind of force being used from the opposition. This makes the story start with an interesting twist. Pam’s investigation starts with a Cambodian King who was actually a Pallava Prince, an old Chinese monk who travels to South India from China and a very old temple amidst the forest. The subsequent incidents create a maze with many loose ends and when they conjugate, the story becomes interesting.

The end of the story was not up to my liking maybe because of the fact that I didn’t want the story to be ended or the storyline lost its grip.

Overall, this is a fascinating tale of many things and I had a good experience reading this book.

What I like:
1. The concept of multiple plots which are interesting
2. Smooth narration
3. Simple and easy language
4. Delving into history reminds the rich heritage
5. The elements like action, mystery, murder, love, and history are blended well
6. Two parallel central stories running throughout the book is an interesting aspect.
7. The ever-fascinating things like politics, Indio-China relations, culture, and heritage stories and facts are well explained.
8. There is a hairline difference between history and mythology that which in this book the author has clearly articulated.

What I didn’t like:

1. Though comparing this book with his previous works stands irrational, but as a fan of his writings, I felt this story missed that punch.
2. There are places where the story looked dragging. If there was a crunch in the length of the story, it would have been appreciated.

Ashwin Sanghi is a master in creating characters that look simple but are deep inside and strong characters that are actually soft. If we talked about characters in his previous books, in this book the characters are sketched very finely. The character of Paramjit, the central protagonist is simple yet charming and valiant. Though at some places other characters look a little feeble, it is the end of what matters and how every character’s space in the story is dealt and closed.

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Ashwin Sanghi’s writing style is one of the best amongst the current authors we have. His treatment of various subjects and themes in the same story is absolutely fantastic. The flow of the story and the moderate-paced narration hooks the readers to the book. With a simple yet engaging narration, and without any complexities the story flows smoothly.

Language & Grammar:
Simple, elegant, and non-complex English language with rich yet un-complicated vocabulary is found in the book. This subtleness in writing is what Ashwin’s magic wand.

My Final Verdict:
Historically Engaging

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(Reviewed by Swapna Peri)