- Reading level: 12+ years
- Paperback: 316 pages
- Publisher: VB Performance LLP; First edition (9 June 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9789352685486
- ISBN-13: 978-9352685486
- ASIN: 9352685482
- Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 5 cm
- Average Customer Review: 705 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Harappa - Curse of the Blood River Paperback – 9 Jun 2017
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“Harappa knits 3,700 years, powerful ancient and modern-day characters, and a nail-biting conspiracy – all in one literary thriller.” - Times of India
“Vineet’s style of narrative and backdrop does remind (the reader) of Dan Brown, but Vineet has surpassed him in terms of vision and imagination” - ikreatepassions.com
“Harappa is definitely the next Bahubali…” - Mala Ramakrishnan
“Very nicely written book…” - Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
“Vineet…weaves a whole alter reality with Harappa…a magnum opus!’ - 94.3 FM, Radio One
“Bajpai sets you up perfectly for the dark revelations…of the great storyline he has created in Harappa.” - thebigfatboho.com
“Harappa…a blend of history, mythology, religion and crime.” - afaqs.com
“Harappa…is a mix of history, mythology and fantasy…The story has the visual effect of a screenplay.” - Asian Age
“Harappa…fiction fills the gap left by reality…in a Dan Brown fashion.” - Mid Day
"Lending a true Dan Brown-esque vibe, author Vineet Bajpai weaves a gripping narrative…introduces a myriad elements and yet manages to keep them together…brilliant…unputdownable experience for the reader.” - Hindustan Times
About the Author
Vineet is a first-generation entrepreneur. At age 22 he started his company Magnon from a small shed. Today Magnon is among the largest digital agencies in the subcontinent and part of the Fortune 500 Omnicom Group.
He has led the global top-ten advertising agency TBWA as its India CEO. This made him perhaps the youngest ever CEO of a multinational advertising network in the country. He has won several entrepreneurship and corporate excellence awards, including the Entrepreneur of the Year 2016. He was recently listed among the 100 Most Influential People in India’s Digital Ecosystem.
Vineet’s second company talentrack is disrupting the media, entertainment and creative industry in India. It is the fastest-growing online hiring and networking platform for the sector.
He has written three bestselling management and inspirational books – Build From Scratch, The Street to the Highway and The 30 Something CEO.
He is an avid swimmer, a gaming enthusiast, a bonfire guitarist and a road-trip junkie. He is 39.
From the Publisher
Q & A with Vineet Bajpai
Q1. What is Harappa about?
A1. Vineet Bajpai: Harappa takes the readers on a journey spanning 3,700 years, from 1700 BCE Indus Valley to modern-day Delhi & Paris. It spins a thrilling tale around some of the unanswered and haunting questions of the Indus Valley.
The story traces the bloodline of the greatest man of Harappa. There is a deeper conspiracy around the fall of the civilization, which connects several dots from Harappa, to Kashi, to 5th century Constantinople, to 16th century Goa and to the Vatican. The story oscillates from history to mythology, from occult to religion, from exorcism on one side to gunfights on the other, from taantrics to warriors, from love to ambition.
Q2. What was the inspiration for the book? Is it based on any real or fictitious characters?
A2. Vineet Bajpai: Harappa is an effort to creatively exploit the rich history, mythology and heritage of India. When we read books of brilliant western authors like Dan Brown and we read say, the Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons, we love them. But why hasn’t a book ever taken us on a fantasy ride through the dark and terrifying narratives of the Garuda Puraana? It was this quest for creating a high-quality book based on our own Indian heritage, our own myths & mysteries, which made me envision Harappa. As far as the characters are concerned, while the book uses intense historical and mythological backdrops, the characters are all sculpted afresh.
Q3. From business/management books to best selling Indian fiction…the transition is significant. What prompted you to get into history, mythology and fantasy fiction?
A3. Vineet Bajpai: Just as I wrote management books to share my experience in the industry and help my readers build better careers and companies, I also wanted to write about India’s ancient mysteries and our rich heritage.
Q4. Describe your journey as an author so far. What are your future plans?
A4. Vineet Bajpai: It has been a great journey, with the love being showered from one’s readers being my greatest reward. Starting with my first business book, Build from Scratch, it has been a dream come true. The book continues to be a favourite of entrepreneurs and start-ups even today. I wrote my second business title The Street to the Highway in the year 2011. In 2016 I released my most recent business and inspirational book The 30 Something CEO. Harappa is getting much love from readers all over the country. Within just 90 days of launch, the book is on all bestseller lists and has sold nearly 20,000 copies. The response has been tremendous. What more can an author ask for?
My immediate goal is to complete writing Harappa’s sequel - Pralay: The Great Deluge. Lots of readers who have read Harappa and have loved it have sent me emails and messages asking me when Pralay will be released.
Q5. Some in the media are comparing you to Dan Brown. What do you have to say about that?
A5. Vineet Bajpai: It is very flattering to be compared to a great literary icon like Dan Brown. I have thoroughly enjoyed his books and the films made on this books over the last decade and more. I have learnt a lot from him. However, Harappa is a completely different body of work and writing style. First of all, it truly has history and mythology unfolding within the story, and not just as a backdrop. It carries two different eons in parallel. You can call Harappa a historical fiction novel, a crime thriller, a fantasy book or a mythological fiction work.
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Why I was intrigued towards reading this was because of the title itself: Harappa. I have never read anything about this civilization, of course except the course books. So, when I got a chance to review this book I, I grabbed it instantly. And I was not disappointed at all.
The story starts when Vidyut Shashtri, the main protagonist of the story, is called upon to Varanasi where his great-grandfather, Dwarka Shashtri, is on deathbed. Vidyut is a successful entrepreneur and an eligible bachelor who lives with her girlfriend Damini who is a journalist. When Vidyut reaches Varanasi, his great-grandfather starts telling him the story of the curse that has been brought upon his entire generation and the humankind by his ancestor Vivasvan Shatri.
Parallel to this story is running another story, including Vivasvan Pujari as main Protagonist, in 1700 BCE during the great Harappa civilization or the Indus Valley civilization. Vivasvan Pujari is the chief priest of the city and he was soon to become the lead person of Harappa. This was not acceptable to Priyamvada, the wife of Vivasvan’s best friend and brother-in-law Pundit Chandradhar. She conspires against him with dark forces and ultimately turns every person in Harappa against him. This ultimately leads to the destruction of Harappa and put a curse on Vivasvan’s bloodline.
In present, the story goes to Rome where an assassin is planning to kill Vidyut and thus sends a person Romi to Varanasi to kill Vidyut. With the help of his friends, Vidyut managed to save himself. The story then reveals various secrets.
Character building and plot development
I guess the plot is the main and strongest part of this story. The plot is constructed so well around different eras that you don’t feel that you suddenly jumped from one time period to another. All the events are well connected and fast paced. The author has maintained a very good level of thriller and suspense throughout the book. Vineet Bajpai has cleverly crafted the storyline. He doesn’t provide with too much secret at one point and just left the other parts simply boring. In fact, he has unfolded the secrets one by one leaving the readers to want more. There are so many twists and turns that you keep turning on the pages.
As this is the first book in the series, the details of the main antagonists were kept short. The main focus was kept on the storyline and the and the characters involved. All the characters are well developed. Each character has been presented according to their era. I haven't thought that the writer would present the environment of Dev-Raakshasa Matth in such a modern way. The author has also portrayed some of the female characters pretty bold. The description of all the food provided in Matth was so tempting!
The author has used such a simple and easy language that anyone can understand easily. At the same time, it doesn't feel like a writing of an ordinary author. The storyline progresses flawlessly and smoothly, going from one era to another. The writing keeps the reader engaged. One main thing to highlight here is that author has used many Hindi language words (as expected by an Indian author in most of the case), but he has told the meaning of each word in English too. This, I guess, will not stop a non-Hindi reader from reading this masterpiece.
The writing of the author shows how much research has been done about Harappa and Varanasi. The description of Harappa felt as if it is coming straight from a famous history book and many times it made me believe as if all the things were real. The description of Kashi/Varanasi is equally beautiful. It is evident in the author's writing that he follows Hinduism devotionally. I loved how he has described his bold thoughts about religion.
"The succession of horrors and violence that Harappa was about to withstand had never been witnessed before by mankind, but hereon would be endured again and again. Each time man would shed the blood of innocents to quench the unquenchable thirst of one demon. Every era would hear the shrieks of suffering millions, only to satisfy the insatiable hunger of one tyrant who wanted it all for himself. And it was going to begin soon."
What I didn’t like
The main thing that I didn’t like was the use of words like “yaa” in conversations between Vidyut and Damini and sometimes with Naina. The use of those words was not fitting with the story well. Also, I felt that the story was a little slow in the beginning.
Mythological fiction is a recent trend in India and though I haven't read much of this genre, I know that it isn't always the case that an Indian author pulls such a great and engrossing story. Vineet Bajpai has perfectly mixed up the fantasy and contemporary, the past and the present. The story ends with a cliffhanger and many questions remained unanswered. It left me hooked till the last page and I really wish the second book comes soon and it is as good as this. Harappa was such a refreshing read. It would be no surprise if this gets adapted to a feature film :P If you are into this genre, then I would definitely recommend it to you.
We have Harappa! Not the City that must have played a pivotal role in the history of mankind. But this horrid novel which seems to have taken the readers 'by storm' (expression used in too many paid reviews). But that's to be expected. Most of those gushers have compared this work with those penned by Dan Brown (atrocious writing) and Ashwin Sanghi (infodumping, sermonising, being formulaic to the point of self-parody). Trouble is, the plot was ideal for a genuine gripping thriller. Had the novel been vacuous in that aspect as well, I could have overlooked it. But such an interesting pseudo-historical plot has been completely trashed by pathetic writing, stereotypical characterisations, and repeatedly using the same expressions. Believe me, if someone claims to be half human, half Devta even once, I would keep hitting his/her skull with this book until someone stops me or something happens.
Read history books, preferably 'Political History of Ancient India' and 'The Lost River'. They are more thrilling, informative, and vastly superior in terms of writing.