There are a plenty of thrillers spun around mythological tales and legends but there is a dearth of books based on idol theft or the bust of smuggling rings or the hot pursuit that follows. The Shrine of Death written by Divya Kumar has managed to fill that paucity in bringing a humdinger of a thriller for the readers.
The debut work of Divya Kumar welcomes the readers with an impressive cover where shades of crimson and white manage to grab the eyeballs with the minimal image of shrine and idol thrown in the background. (The designers deserve a mention Bloomsbury India and please feature their name).
The plot revolves around the theft of two bronzes from the 10th century and the subsequent hunt for a missing fiery young historian researcher who has discovered something valuable. The researcher’s friend begins to search for her missing old friend and she gets embroiled in a world of sepulchral shrines, smuggling, murder, and betrayal.
The characters in this book make the story more real as the people and plot are more relatable. Although there is a supernatural oddity thrown in the plot, it doesn’t feel alien to the readers. The characters are well etched into the minds of the readers as they take the plot forward. The characters ramble a lot about random things which isn’t essential for the plot but they succeed in keeping the readers glued to the pages of the book making this an indelible page-turner.
The author had made sure that the limelight doesn’t only focus on the protagonist rather it revolves around many characters. This keeps the readers on the qui vive without missing any details. The plot also has its fair share of spine-tingling episodes to spook the hell which makes this book even more interesting to read.
There was a particular chapter where Prabha arrives in a sepulchral shrine along with the empath and her cousin to find traces of evidence about her missing friend and the words of that chapter will intimidate the readers. The plot revolves around Chennai and Kumbakonam which is a wow factor for me as I always thought cities from the south aren’t adequately represented in fiction. Most books I have read are set in Delhi or Bombay and I was waiting for a change of setting in the plot.
Although the plot deals with missing of idols, we aren’t deluged with historical facts or information impeding the page turning experience. The characters are ignorant about those historical things and we, the readers get to know them as the characters learn about the information. This was absolutely brilliant in not boring the readers with a deluge of facts and information about historical stuff.
The only thing I regretted was the title which could have been different as it didn’t strike a chord with me. (But I suppose this has to do something with the sequel, so it matters less.)
The plot takes the reader with its own pace and the cliffhanger at the end knowing the real perpetrator comes as a real surprise. The author contained the element of surprise for the culmination of the book without diverting the readers.
A pacy thriller with idol theft, murders and shrines tucked in between relatable characters and situation where the author delivers what she promises, a riveting tale. Thrillers are not easy to write and to satisfy the reader is a gargantuan task which Divya Kumar does it with ease. Go grab the book and read it. I suppose you don’t want to miss the action when the second book of the trilogy releases. And here I am waiting for the sequel to release soon.
Book Details :
Author: Divya Kumar
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Copy: Review Copy
Get the book here: Flipkart