Anand Arungundram Mohan is a new entrant in the world of historical fiction presented with a new flavour of mystery and adventure added to it. He has proposed a series, The Journey. His first novel in the series has published in January 2020, The World’s Oldest, Most Powerful Secret Society. Though this novel talks about a secret society, a concept that India doesn’t have in bold letters in its history or traditions, it has been presented in a very attractive manner that furthers the case for curiosity in the readers. I have read the novel recently and I will offer my inputs, highs and lows and the book review in this article.
The initial narrative or the setting-up of fiction takes place in the battlefield of Kalinga where Ashoka gets the win on the cost of destruction that he cannot digest any longer and announces a distance from the battles and arms. He accepts the path of peace and non-violence. History stops here. Anand Arungundram Mohan’s imagination adds a new turn to it and he wonderfully inters the concept of a secret society set-up by King Ashoka that comprised of 9 highly intellectual and clever people who were given a task the create a book of power with many scientific, scholarly and abstract resources that would help in peace-keeping and also in the warfare if necessary. The advance science is beyond our present imaginations! Time travelling, communicating with other beings in the universe, flying chariots and so on… the book seems to be capitalising on the ancient Indian science that was once flourished to a level that we cannot fathom! Many among the top Indian book bloggers have already highlighted these facts from the novel in great details.
The present part in the novel begins in Hyderabad when 9 children are born into 9 different families but they are living in the same building! What a coincidence and curiosity enhancer in the very beginning, isn’t it? These kids grow up playing and living together and they create a very good team with Ram being the eldest and the leader and other members following his rules and guidelines.
The twists are very few but very important in the novel. Gopal, one of the members of this group of 9 kids, dies one day following an accident that unfortunately takes place during a cricket match. A strange email pops up in the inbox (of whom? you need to find this out when you read the novel) and the message would self-destruct itself after a certain time. The message reveals that if anything happens to Gopal, this message would be sent and his friends need to save him… really? Saving a dead friend?
Once the concept of Book of Power enters the storyline, things become quite amusing, exciting and eventful. Readers, especially those who love reading adventure and fantasy fiction, would love this. There are a few breakers in the novel’s overall impression as well. The readers who have read a few novels by well-known writers might find the language used in the novel a little under the standard level at times. Also, the characters, except a few, have not found their voice well-covered. This might be trouble but only for those who read a novel critically. Otherwise, for kids, teenagers and fantasy fiction lovers, The World’s Oldest, Most Powerful Secret Society will be an eventful and exciting read! All the best!