The Secret of the Nagas – one of my most awaited books. Since Harry Potter I have not waited for a book sequel this bad and never for one from an Indian writer. The Immortals of Meluha – the prequel to this book by Amish Tripathi had blown away my mind with a tale within the tale that we all know and so Nagas was completed within two days!
The book starts off exactly from where the prequel ended. Sati is attacked by a Naga and Shiva is in pursuit of the Naga. Shiva and Sati give the Naga a tough chase but he escapes but leaves behind a gold coin that leads Shiva to the kingdom of Branga, situated in eastern India at the confluence of rivers Brahmaputra and Ganga. The kingdom of Branga being somewhat hostile to Ayodhya, Shiva and Sati go to Kashi, which has a reputation of being a patient city to all people and thus houses a colony of Branga’s too. While they are in Kashi, a mini riot breaks out against the Branga’s and Parvateshwar (Shiva’s army chief from Meluha) is mortally injured trying to pacify the mob. Ayurvati tries her best to revive him fails, as the wounds were deep. Divodas, the chieftain of the Branga’s in Kashi as a thanksgiving for saving his people gives a medicine to Ayurvati, which has miraculous effects, and Parvateshwar is revived and starts recovering well. Ayurvati informs Shiva that the medicine had herbs that are only found in Panchavati, the capital of Nagas. Divodas informs Shiva that the Branga’s are yearlong affected by plague and need medicines that only the Nagas make to keep alive and that is why Branga’s and Nagas are ally’s. In his quest to reach the Nagas, Shiva decides to go to Branga. While Shiva is waiting for the special ships that will take him to Branga (as you cannot enter Branga just like that because of their advanced technological fortifications on the rivers) to be built, his and Sati’s son – Kartik is born. After which Shiva leaves for Branga with his team and Sati stays back in Kashi to help the king fight against lion killings in the kingdom. On reaching Branga, Shiva finds out that the Branga’s are in alliance with the Nagas for the sake of the medicine and till Branga is not able to make that medicine on its own the alliance will have to continue. He also gets to know that apart from the Nagas only one man can make those medicines - a Bandit by the name of Parashuram, who kills anyone who tries to come near his part of the jungle. Shiva’s entourage after much bloodshed wins over Parashuram’s army and he readily surrenders the medicine recipe to Shiva when he learns that HE IS the Neelkanth. Shiva also learns that Parashuram is a Vasudev pandit (shiva’s guides and philosophers) and his story from a pandit to a bandit is what changes Shiva’s perception about the Nagas. While in Kashi, Sati goes to fight the pride of lions that were killing villagers with a group of soldiers. While there she miscalculates the number of lions in the pride and she is nearly killed under the attack when a group of Nagas come to her rescue. After the rescue operation the leaders of the Nagas a women who looked exactly like sati but with deformations and a man, again deformed claim to be related to her.
Sati related to Nagas while Shiva believes that he will find evil when he reaches the Nagas!
And the man is the one who Shiva believes killed his brother-friend Brahaspati!
Their revelation points out that Meluha after all is not as perfect as it seems!
Author Amish spins another tale of fascination and shifting beliefs. For someone who has grown up on Indian Mythology the Shiva trilogy is a path breaker. Whenever a new character is introduced the story that you grew up on comes to the mind and then the connection between the characters in your mind and the book comes up. The book is racy, intelligent and notion breaker. As an individual book it is excellent but comparison with the prequel will dim its glory. The Nagas lacks the punch of Meluha. You will like it if you are a mythology fiction fan but you will love it only because you are a Shiva Trilogy fan.
p.s. Though I think it is good as a stand alone book but you will enjoy it fully only if you have read the prequel, else you will find more mysteries than there actually are.
iVerdict: A page turner. Must read for a Mythology Fiction or Historical Fiction fan.