Thursday, November 20, 2014

Book Review : The Mahabharata Quest : The Alexander Secret by Christopher C. Doyle

Author: Christopher C. Doyle
ISBN-13: 9789384030599
Binding: Paperback
Publisher: Westland Publications
Number of pages: 308
Genre: Fiction
Language: English
Price: Rs.295 (Got a review copy from

About the Book

In 334 B.C., the young Alexander has already conquered most of the known world. He turns his gaze towards Hindustan, the land of the Indus. There, he seeks a secret buried in the Mahabharata, one that will grant him the powers of a god. In the present day, a tomb is uncovered in Greece, one that has been buried in secrets for over 2000 years. It hides the body of a queen. In New Delhi, the discovery of strange and unexplained corpses in a hidden lab leads Vijay Singh and his team, members of an elite task force, in a hunt for a deadly adversary. Their only clues lie hidden in the Mahabharata, and when they decipher them, they will discover the truth many people have sought for eons. In this journey, they face an ancient enemy who will yet hold the world for ransom with his diabolical plan for total domination.

About the Author

Christopher C. Doyle is a historical fiction writer. A graduate of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, he studied business management at IIM Calcutta. He is currently based in Gurgaon where he lives with his family.

This book follows The Mahabharata Secret
 Gaurav Says

As we were growing up and drooling in our sleep during history classes, the teacher possibly leafed through the chapter of Alexander the Third, without being aware about most of his conquest. The teacher must have humored Alexander when he considered himself to be a God. Little did you know that the humor was about to get real. Little did you know that Alexander went for a quest to the end of the world, just to emerge out victorious and coveted with the powers of a greater and mightier sentient. 
Christopher C. Doyle’s latest release, The Mahabharata Quest: The Alexander Secret turned my boorish history classes ‘downside up’ as I travel into past to know about the extent to which Alexander went, after conquering Persia, to attain immortality. His most trusted historian Callisthenes (sounds familiar?) accompanies him in this quest. Alexander eventually shakes hands with the secret that made him a living God. His journey brought back gleeful insights of one retrovirus and bacterium, which holds the key to reduce ageing and provide a guard against most known diseases.
Although the myth of his journey is a loosely woven, the science that supports it totally rules out any ambiguity. It is this science that begins, quiet a perilous journey of secret law syndicates, trying to grab the secret of Alexander’s quest. Once the secrets are in their hands, they could literally hold the Panacea of medicine. However, instead of spreading them for free, they would like to dominate word politics and become the ultimate masters. (Something that a reputed drug brand recently tried to do by not making cancer drugs cheaper ). But hey, back to the science fiction story now!
So it all starts around 323 B.C. when one of Greek’s favorite tragic hero, Eumenes, contemplates in his prison how he has swiftly concealed Alexander’s secret from the hands of Plutarch and Antigonuus. His execution is followed by the first appearance of a secret covenant-The Order-who receives a vellum that maps the way to Alexander’s quest. Cut scene and we come down to an anxious looking Mike Ashford who received a secret papyri and two journals, which was followed by a life threat by unknown people who are privy to every detail of Ashford’s discovery (talk about crappy days). If that’s not all, Mike’s co-archaeologists are either dead or missing. Mike’s not sure what’s in store for him. But he made sure that he dutifully send a copy down to one of old colleague, back to downtown India, Delhi.
Alice, an ambitious Greek-American (and a blonde, but don’t let that fool you!) archaeologists lays perplexed as she sees the dead body of an young chap Marco, lying in front of her eyes. She has been chased by two hitmen, working for ‘The Order’. Why? Because she’s carrying an ivory cube that bears Sanskrit inscriptions that clues the way to Alexander’s secret. She found the cube in Olympias’ tomb in Pydna. (Olympias was Alexander’s mom btw). Aided by Kurt Wallace, (who funded her research), she made her way into her ex-boyfriends heavily guided fort, Vijay who’s currently engaged to a nuclear physicist, Radha. Doyle brings the ‘it’s complicated’ tension between these three characters. However, Vijay’s friend Colin always cracks a joke or two, to lighten up things.
We fly back to India where Imran, an IB official receives an email from one childhood friend Anwar, asking for immediate help. He traces the address to a medical institute (which ironically is owned by Wallace), just to find it in ruins. On further investigations, he finds out human guinea pigs, being experimented upon in the basement. And guess what? Imran brings in the C.I.A. into the game. From then on, a game of cat and mouse ensues. The cat being the I.B.- C.I.A nexus, trying to bring down the mouse, ‘The Order’. People dies, Imran gets bazooka-d (that’s right!) and merciless killers emerge to bring back the cube from Alice.
Among these merciless killers, Peter and Riley are perhaps my favorite. Peter is like Imagining Liam Neeson with ‘particular set of skills’ acquired over a long career of shooting targets down from great distances with acute proficiency. He’s especially good with moving targets (that fox may finally have Road Runner killed). Riley is more like a combination of Christopher Walken’s intimidating look and Danny Trejo’s fascination of killing people with bare hands. These two are two badass assassins, who always attract the Godfather-styled scenarios, from which there are never any survivors.
Dull moments are virtually invisible when it comes to this sequel of the Mahabharata Quest. The narration keeps you riveted. Although some portions of the narrative might be reminiscent of Robert Langdon’s misadventures from ‘Da Vinci Code’. However, if you cut to the brass-tacks, Alexander’s Secret is as engrossing as any other books on adventures. In fact, it keeps you grounded to the core of the quest to the Fountain of Youth.
What I did not like was Doyle’s poor handling of depicting tension between Alice and Vijay. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly feel like throwing a vase at these two, when they share awkward moments. You’d feel like saying, ‘Come on guys! Just kiss and make-up already!! The world’s at stake!’ Just when you feel that the narrative is losing its pace, Doyle breathes life into it with completely bizarre events.
Don’t be intimidated by the thickness of The Mahabharata Quest: Alexander’s Secret. It’s is a solid page-turner that would keep you entertained throughout. It has the potential to be made into a movie some day. I imagine Irrfan Khan essaying the role of I.B. officer Imran while Hritik Roshan is made into the truly Greek God that he is, in the role of Alexander.

Oh btw, the book is not complete. It’s going to ‘be continued’ into the next edition.

I enjoyed reading it Mr. Doyle.  Release the next book soon!

Reviewed by Gaurav Dutta for Dreams and Drama.
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!


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