There are a few authors who I think can never go wrong and that’s precisely the case with Ashwin Sanghi. His books are always a pleasure to read. ‘The Sialkot Saga’ is a bundle of lasting information and I’m sure a lot of research, which makes the amalgamation of historical incidents with fictional characters really seamless.
The story starts with a train from Sialkot reaching Amritsar filled with dead corpses and blood all over during the India-Pakistan partition. The author then takes us to the era of Ashoka (250 BC) after the war of Kalinga where the emperor Ashoka entrusts his nine reliable men to guard a secret. The start of the book has been written in a way that it completely lures the reader.
The story goes on to two very different people, from different backgrounds and different cities, Aravind and Arbaaz. Aravind is born I a rich family from Kolkata and Arbaaz is born as a son of a dock worker from Mumbai. Both protagonists have the same interest of multiplying money in their own way and eventually with time find their way into politics.
The story shifts to Ashoka, Samudra Gupta, Harsha where the secret is passed down from one generation to another into the new age. Aravind and Arbaaz story run in parallel. What I really liked was that the Indian politics is so seamlessly running in the story with the actual facts and characters. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Shayam Prasad Mukherjee and even Steve Jobs are a part of the story which really is interesting. Author has done a brilliant work in combining the fictional characters which actual people without disturbing the plot and it doesn’t upset the readers as well.
The pace of the book is amazing. Kudos to Ashwin Sanghi for engaging his readers for a 588 pager fiction which to me is nothing less than a miracle. Love the story, love the history. It’s a beautiful historic thriller!!! A must read!!