We’ve often stated that the perks of being a professional book reviewer include exposure to new talents. Sometimes you find much much better books written by debutante authors than some of the bestsellers by well-known authors. Today, we will talk about one such book.
The Treasure Syndicate is the second book by author Jaitn Kuberkar, however, it is his first one we got a chance to read.
Reading the book reminded me of a lesson in Gujarati I read years ago “પાણીકળો”. It is often translated in English as “water-diviner”. Later on, I found many similar articles in various newspapers and magazines in various languages referring to this term. It is used to refer to a person who has the ability to find the source of underground-water. The people living a lavish lifestyle, wasting liters of water daily, may not find it important, but, for the people living in the remote areas or whose livelihood is dependent on water; finding water is nothing less than a sacred ritual. Same way, some people have a talent for identifying footprints which help to resolve various crimes also. In the same aspects, the role played by “Ranchhod Pagi” during the India-Pak war is something exceptional.
The Treasure Syndicate – talks about people who possess a talent for finding sources of treasured wealth :). The word “Treasure” fascinates us and that’s why the games like “Treasure Hunt”, stories of “Treasure Island” and other similar stuff never get “out-of-date”, right?
|Book Title||:||The Treasure Syndicate|
|Publisher||:||Vishwakarma Publications (21 September 2019)|
|# of Pages||:||260 (Paperback)|
|# of Chapters||:||21|
When the author has approached us, the concept of the book intrigued us to read it. Fortunately, from our team, I got a chance to read it. And, I am delighted for this opportunity. The book is a well-balanced mixture of various genres like: Historical Fiction, Fiction, Mahabharat, Books, Views, Reviews, Crime, Thriller, and SciFi.
The author has provided us the review copy, but the review is unbiased and uninfluenced by all means, as always.
Of course, we should not judge a book by its cover. It is, however, one of the most important aspect of the book and the impact it creates is tough to ignore. Being a gateway to the virtual world explored within, the cover page plays a significant role in book purchase and/or reading decisions by making the first impression of the same.
As the book is about a treasure hunt, a little vintage look of the cover page is expected. The combination of dark yellow and black color with possibly a map was expected. The Book Bakers – the cover designers, did a remarkable job in making an interesting cover for this book. The wisest decision, according to me, is to include the symbol of the “Treasure Hunt Team” (I will avoid using the name used in the book for the team, as far as possible, as a try to avoid spoilers). There are some aspects that could have been tweaked, but overall it is a simple yet interesting cover page.
A tragic incident is happened somewhere in India. Acharya Neelkanth Agnihotri and his wife Sumati are the biggest losers to this mishap. They lost their only son Vishnu and daughter-in-law Mahita and possibly someone else too. This mishap leads them to live with everlasting and inconsolable grief.
But, as said, time is the biggest healer. It cannot undo what happened, but, it keeps filling our brain with new memories, burying the older ones beneath them, making it less painful, for sure.
Jabbar – is a digger. It is an understatement to call him a digger. He is an exceptional digger. His work not only requires a high level of physical stamina (which he has, as his name suggests) but also requires talent to conclude the most efficient way to do his target work.
Dr. Mahesh – is a doctor (as the salutation is not enough to reveal 🙂 ). He lives a lavish lifestyle. Nothing less than the life-style of a prince. He is a hardworking person who loves to pamper himself. He respects his Mamaji, Acharya Neelkanth, and is ready to be at his disposal.
Kumar – is a taxi driver. It is said that he is the favorite child of destiny! And, there are reasons for that. Be it any mishap, he is the one who came out of it, almost unscathed, always.
Shrikant – is jut another youth. He is not very confident. He thinks more than twice before doing anything. And, in that process, he gets confused, in most of the cases. He hasn’t achieved anything remarkable in his life, yet. And, if his attitude will not be changed, no one thinks that he will achieve anything in the future also. To add to that, he has a striking resemblance in looks with Late Vishnu.
After a few years of the mishap we talked about earlier, Acharya met with these 4 fellows separately. In the chain of events that look almost scattered and unlinked, people often get connected through a thin and often invisible thread. Being a Vastu expert and Astrologer, Acharya got a chance to visit Satish’ ancestral home in Patthar Gali. After visiting that home, where he also met Satish’ family, Acharya summoned Mahesh, Kumar, Shrikant, and Jabbar!
Why? What is there is Patthar-Gali? What about the treasure hunt? How these fellows are related to each other? All these questions are answered in an elaborated manner in the rest of the story which you should explore by reading this interesting book.
Views And Reviews:
Jatin Kuberkar is an interesting person. It is said that when you are looking for anything passionately, things start to fall in place, and you, eventually move near your target. Jatin’s target is “interesting story ideas”. This is how he got his first book formulated. And, the story is not different for his second book! Yes, he conceived the idea of this story from a real 20-min conversation about “Urban Treasure Hunting” with a cab driver, while waiting for his friend.
The narration looked superlative to him but the idea fascinated him so he did some of his research work in the arena and eventually, in 2012 he came across a real treasure hunting group in Hyderabad! This is when the story started taking a shape. Of course, it is written and re-written multiple times to become what it is. The author gives a hint that he has some material unused and it can be used by him in any other story in the future. The book is also ended in a way that a sequel is expected! So, I think we can find it hitting the bookstalls in the near future :).
Now you know that the story is inspired by the real expeditions by some treasure hunting groups and the experiences shared by them. The author brilliantly creates a back story to take you to the time of Mahabharata. While the prologue might not be that interesting, from the point when a prime character stars explaining things from the time of Mahabharata, the story gets interesting. And, it remains the same throughout.
Usually, when you are reading stories having roots in ancient literature or mythology, you need to put the logic aside many a time. This book is a pleasant surprise in that aspect. It tries to reason the actions and reactions both. The author, at places, also narrates explanation from the scientific perspective also. Though it is a fantasy, it is not quite illogical.
The author seems to be an observant of human behavior and a nature lover. His writings reflect it in the book.
The author is good at describing persona of a character. Here is an example:
He was not what he seemed to be. What he did for a living was not actually his business. He might have been living amongst humans, but he was not as human as he appeared to be.
As you can see, it makes the character mysterious and interesting at the same time.
In addition to the well established Mahabharat connection (fictional, of course), the explanation about the “age of Kali” (i.e. Kaliyug or Kaaliyuga) is written interestingly. Of course, it is taken from ancient Indian literature, but the presentation is the author’s own.
… Under Kali’s influence, the people in high ranks will have selfish intentions, businessmen will engage in unethical business. Their greed will end up polluting the environment and commercializing the basic needs. Even education and godly worship would fall prey to greed. Religion will no longer be a way of life but a sordid breeding ground for divisive politics. It shall pave way to great divides and gory wars. The wealthy will never be contented with what they have and the learned will sell their knowledge to become wealthy. …
Don’t we see similar things happening around us? And, that is what connects the reader to the story.
The author makes the scenes very interesting by adding minute details at various places. Here is an example:
The clock rang the half-hour bell to proudly proclaim that it was still fully functional.
The author is good at infusing interesting “one-liners”.
The cure for a problem is often found in its root cause.
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Curiosity does not give you knowledge. Patience and observation do.
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You are in control of your decisions. Don’t get carried away by opinions.
Sometimes they are hard-hitting and sometimes they are rational. But, you will find wisdom and knowledge in most of them.
What a joke it is, a person who has never tried doing anything in his life has mountains of regrets for not trying it!
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Remember, magic as such is not good or bad, it is up to what you want to do with it.
Probably the toughest thing for an author is to present the emotions of the characters from his story. Actors have a visual medium where they can act the feelings, but that is not possible when you narrating a story on paper. The author, however, does it effectively in this book. For example:
Holding the car’s steering in a tight grip, Kumar let out a loud breathy sigh like a punctured type.
The following lines are what I think everyone will relate to.
Regardless of the time and geographical locations, the basic emotions and expectations remain the same. If people start understand such basic things then domestic life will never encounter a problem. Also, the lines which follow the above-mentioned segment show the opposite realities from the life of a character. These blend of opposite-emotions together gives the twist to the story when required.
The book has some wise lines which will remain with you even after you complete reading the story:
… observe the group closely, open the eyes of your intellect – see beyond what is visible. Everyone sees the flowers in the garland but not the thread that binds them together.
The book becomes a psychological thriller at places. Actually, more than the physical actions, it is the internal conflict almost all the characters are fighting for.
I am not mentioning many other aspects of the book to avoid spoilers. The quotes from the book, however, will give you a fair idea of the quality of writing to expect from the book. If you are a keen observer, the reference of Vaishyaputra, Tribe of Haldhars,… and many other such things will not be missed by you.
The pace of the story remain good throughout (from the point it picks the speed). The characters are given due weightage and even the characters like “Mishra ji” and “Iqbal” also enters into the scene at the right time.
Let me conclude by quoting another masterpiece of writing from the book:
You know what is the biggest apathy in world today? We think that we are the owners of the things we have. We forget that we have come empty handed, we will go empty handed. We are mere trustees of this worldy legacy.
The bibliography at the end is another positive aspect of the book.
I sincerely wish that the book should have been available at a reduced rate. You also need to pay delivery charges when trying to purchase it online. This is something the author/publisher should take care of.
If you love thrillers, you will love reading this book. Price may be a factor you want to consider.
I will give it around 8.5 out of 10.
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