- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins India; 1 edition (10 June 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 935357076X
- ISBN-13: 978-9353570767
- Package Dimensions: 19.6 x 12 x 2.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 294 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,348 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Narasimha: The Mahaavatar Trilogy Book 1 Paperback – Import, 10 Jun 2019
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I must say Kevin Missal is emerged as a finest writer of our country,his writing is so convincing and flawless.Awesome storytelling with perfect narratives which makes this book an awesome read. I always fascinated by the story of Prahlad and Hirnyakashyap,how Holika sit in fire with Prahlad and How Narasimha an Avatar of Lord Vishnu emerged to save Prahlad from his father. But this book just change all my myth and perception about this story and i am in totally awe of the interpretation of author. I totally loved it. This book is perfect example of storytelling,it kept me hooked and I just took two days to finish it.i never read any mythological retelling so fast but it is like a movie every scene and place was so clear in my mind that it keep me hooked through out the book. Content: story starts with Kayadhu hirnyakashyap's wife fighting with Indra army and she gone to death by simha after that Hirnyakashyap wanted to take revenge from Indra so he always plan to attack on Illavarti(Indra place). Nara Simha moved out of battlefield because he thought that took life of innocent was not good and when he returns after 12 years to help his friend Shiva and save Pashupatastra from Andhaka a mad demon.but by mistake he killed Anuhrad and when Nara reliaze his mistake oh I can't tell everything here, so do read to find out about Narasimha Is he really a Vishnu Avatar to save Dharm or he is like any other simha or if he is then why he called Narasimha? How Hirnyakashyap got boon of Brahma? I really like the characters in this book Prahlad,Anuhrad his brother ,Narad his guru Andhaka and Hirnyakashyap. Each character is defined so well and come out perfectly each one has its own importance I really like small characters like Dhriti, simikha and Viparchit. Book filled with Raakshas, demon, pisaach and daanav have some light hearted scene too like love story of Anuhrad - Jyoti ,Viparchit-Simikha, Prahlad-Dhriti and Nara-chenchen which gives smile on my face so this story is filled with lots of emotions love, lust, betrayal, vengeance, power and father son love too. Language is simple and lucid and narration is just awesome. I highly recommend this book to everyone go read i soon. I am looking forward to read part 2 of this book. --By Dipali gupta on 12 June 2019
This book is a remaining of the tale of Narasimha that we've heard from our parents and grandparents. And the author has made a point to let the readers know this before they dive into the story as to leave no chance for misunderstanding, which I really appreciated. As the note gives you a clean state where you know there is no need to compare the original tale and the book. And that this story has it's own individuality even if the characters are people we've grown up learning about. That being said, the story starts off with a situation where Hiranyakashyap's kingdom is under attack in his absence. The prologue paves the way for the journey, that you can guess with the first line itself, is going to be a roller-coaster ride of intense emotions portrayed vividly with the author's descriptive narration. The story revolves around Nara Simha who has long turned his back on being a soldier in battlefield and now leads a life devoted to saving people and practicing medicine. But when has a warrior ever been able to leave bloodshed and war behind for good? When has a fighter ever been able to ignore the way his heart pounds and veins fill with adrenaline everytime the prospect of fight for a cause lingers in air? When has the world ever let a soldier be anything but? Almost never. Decades later, Nara Simha is pulled back into the tangles of conflict. And whenever there's conflict, there's sides to choose and whatever choices he make, he can not choose to be ignorant to the consequences and guilt that the aftermath of the bloodshed and war promises. An enthralling tale with strong characters and graphic narrative that makes you feel every emotion. The mythological aspect is well researched and the author's take on adding tales from various unheard scriptures and texts available made me appreciate the book even more. My only complaint, and not as much as a complaint but rather a suggestion is to not use modern words in mythological fiction and try using words that were then used in speech instead, in the dialogues as it pulls you out of the historical world of Deva's and Asura's and disturbs the image that the words have imprinted on your mind. I can understand that it would be too much work though so it's not that big of a problem. Overall, I enjoyed everything about the book. The storyline is entertaining. The pace is never too fast or too slow. The characters have depth and their thoughts and beliefs were strong which made the relatable and humane. The narrative never falls flat and even the dialogues are written very well. --By Honey on 15 June 2019
About the Author
Kevin Missal wrote his first book at the age of 14, and at 22, the St Stephens graduate is best-selling author and a full-time writer. The first two books in his Kalki, Dharmayoddha Kalki: Avatar of Vishnu and its sequel Satyayoddha Kalki: Eye of Brahma, have both been runaway successes.
From the Publisher
Short excerpts from the book
Nara wiped his wounds with a hot, damp cloth as he looked at Indra. ‘Why are you here?’ he asked. ‘To apologize,’ Indra said, his smile growing wider. ‘Without your army, your guards, your elephant? You look like a civilian.’
‘I had to. I had to disguise myself to reach you and, of course, having Airavata with me would have made me quite conspicuous. My spies have been searching for you for the longest time, and finally, one of them heard about your antics close to a tavern and told me. I was in Mandara, discussing something with Bhairav when I heard, and rushed down here,’ Indra explained.
‘How is Bhairav?’ Nara had known all of these men during his stint back in the army. Now, none of it made sense. Lord Bhairav was a Shiva, just like Lord Rudra had been before him, during Mohini’s Yug. Shiva was a war title given down below in the mountainous regions of the Gana tribe. ‘Worse. Andhaka has been a nuisance,’ Indra sighed. ‘You have to hand it to him, though. Even though he’s blind, he’s quite the man, quite a warrior.’ Nara nodded. He had heard about Andhaka – the famous son of Hiranyaksha, the previous Asura king. The blind prince who was near impossible to kill, so superior were his battle strategies.
‘Why are you here to apologize after fourteen years?’ ‘Because …’ Indra stood up, getting a log and then tossing it in the fire, ‘I made you do some pretty questionable things. I know. I … uh …’ he sighed, ‘I am growing old, Nar. I really am. Jayant is going to take my throne soon … if there is a throne to take, otherwise I’ll make sure he leaves for Swarg. All I’m saying is, in the heat of the moment, in the heat of war, I have done some terrible things. I have ordered executions which weren’t necessary and I have led wars which were …’ ‘Wrong,’ Nara completed for him. ‘I know, they were. I was part of them.’
‘Yes, you and your Simha army. Simhas have always supported the Devas and for that I’m grateful.’ ‘You misused our trust, my lord.’ Nara flared his nostrils. ‘We thought you would lead us in the right direction.’ ‘I still am. The other Simhas are still supporting me. They
are under Mrigsimha now,’ he said, referring to Mrig, who had once been Nara’s subordinate. ‘Only you left. Why?’ ‘You know why. I was exhausted, watching you allow deaths in vain. And then …’ He shook his head, recalling one of the many incidents in the village where the supposed Asuras lived, only to learn that instead of Asuras, it was a village of Manavs, and that he had been forced to attack Manav women and children. ‘I couldn’t spill more innocent blood. Simhas were never supposed to kill innocents. Perhaps Mrig is okay with it, but I am not.’ ‘Every war has casualties, Nar.’ Nara nodded. ‘I know. That’s why I left it. I can’t stop the war, so I decided to leave it.’ He paused. ‘You have brought such a long war on yourself. You shouldn’t have attacked Kashyapuri. That is the reason everything started.’ And the reason my faith in you was shaken.
Detailed author description
Kevin Missal wrote his first book at the age of 14, and at 22, the St Stephens graduate is a bestselling author and a fulltime writer, with the first two books in his Kalki series being runaway successes. Dharmayoddha Kalki: Avatar of Vishnu and its sequel Satyayoddha Kalki: Eye of Brahma have sold one lakh copies in under a year. Kevin loves fantasy fiction and has always been a fan of mythology. His books have been featured in publications like The Sunday Guardian, The New Indian Express and Millennium Post.
Questions for Kevin Missal
- You’ve picked Kalki before for your first series. Why Narasimha now? What about him drew you?
After writing Kalki, I happened to realise that the world I have created is far bigger than anticipated. I decided to subvert the cliches and rather than going forward, I’ll go backwards. I had to start somewhere. The reimagining on Lord Ram and Lord Krishna had been done to death and there was a dearth of stories being told from fresher, newer character perspective. I happened to write on Narasimha when I realised he’s the angriest Avatar of Lord Vishnu. The more I researched about him, the more he became layered and complex. Did you know he had a wife? Did you know he was a devoted husband? It made me think that people know only the Narasimha they have read in populist stories and not the one that came prior. So I happen to write on him.
- Tell us a little bit about the research, and the texts you referred to for the series.
I only read comparative analysis on ancient texts for it helps me to create a nuanced portrayal of the myths. If I follow one text, it’ll be very limited for me as a writer. One of the few analysis was done by Deborah A. Soifer in her book “The Myths of Narasimha and Vamana” where she had looked through all the texts and gave her critique on it. Since I was a history student from St. Stephen’s college, this is what we also did during our exams—get the texts, compare and write your critique.
- The plot of the book is complex and layered. Tell us about how you worked on it?
I always start with the character’s PURPOSE. For me, if a character doesn’t have a goal, I wouldn’t care for him. Once that was done, I made sure my characters were tragic—either Narasimha who has gone through too much bloodshed, or Prahlad who’s confused between two opposing ideologies or Hiranyakashyap who is grieving over his wife’s demise. Then I added their past and why they are who they are today. All of this culminated into a breathtaking story.
- The characters in Narasimha are from the past, but their language is young, very contemporary. Why is that?
I always believe in catering to the audience. I can have an archaic way of storytelling and not many will read this book and get the message I’m trying to portray. For me, it should be feasible to read so the message is carried the best way possible. Thus, I made their language young and fresh.
- There are strong women characters in the book. Tell us about crafting Holika, Chenchen and Dhriti?
I never think of gender whenever I’m creating a character. Just how I create any male hero, I’ll do the same for female heroine. I’ll give them purpose, a backstory, a sort of conflict that’ll be an obstacle in their goal. I would also make sure that they aren’t just lovers of the male protagonist but have dreams, fears and hope. I hate it when they are just considered a love interest.
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294 customer reviews
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has been one fine read about Lord Vishnu's incarnation as Narsimha.
Starting with the cover, it indeed is an epitome of how covers should be. The real essence of Narsimha and Hiranyakashyap's story is very well depicted through it.
Coming to the story, its a fictionalized retelling of the story of Lord Narsimha. The storytelling and gripping narration wins the reader over. But fyi, this is not the actual mythological story we know, its just an amalgamation of the author's imagination and various sides of the same story, blended together to give a coherent fiction to the readers.
Also, a mythological fiction is inadequate without a map. Yes! A map of Illavarti (the place where the story is set) makes facts in the book coherent with each other.
There were some inconsistency in the way the story was flowing. And the length of the book made it ungripping as the story progressed.
Characters were developed aptly with equal focus on sub-characters also.
Overall, mythology recaptulated!
I picked this book because of Kevin Missal. I didn’t even read the blurb, only saw the cover. I liked it. I completed this book in one week, I guess. This is an accomplishment for me because I have been avoiding reading books from the last couple of months and this is the first book I could complete in a very long time.
I like reading a retelling of old epics. This was a very refreshing and nice read for me. I don’t think I disliked any part of the book. It was nicely written, it has a very beautiful cover, good characterization, and narration.
I liked how the author has portrayed actual villains in the story like Holika, Hiranyakashipu, Andhaka and has given a reason as to why they are like the way they are. It gives readers a different perspective about characters. It is a story of faith, dharma, adharma, avatar, war, loss, pain, grief, hope. I am eagerly waiting for the next part of the book.
Characters 4 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Plot 4 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (because of predictivity )
The whole drama of fight is based on ego, family instability of characters, quest for finding the right path, quest in search of Dharam, family turmoil, broken promises, faith, revenge, hatred, jealousy ,creepiness, broken trust, love for siblings, hidden emotions hidden dark side of story, lost love and loved one, this make this novel and overall package and in the end redemption of certain characters
I disliked the predictable plot as that make things obvious and reader start loosing its interest
Wait for part 2 start here as some questions are yet to be answered
The author’s perception on the mythological characters as well as an introduction to certain new sub – plots and other finer distinctions compels the readers to think outside the already established story.
It was not only based on one character but multiple personalities left a mark on the narrative. In a way, it was a fresher outlook on many subjects. I liked how a few of the characters were formed, like that of Holika and Andhaka. Their backstories were crafted well to give the readers a clearer picture on their actions and outlook and purpose.
I think my most favourite part will be when Hiranyakashyap and a spirit discussed on ‘Consent’ and the spirit said, “If a woman or a man objects and it is still forced on her or him, then it is no longer consensual. It is rape.”
There was also a remark on the nuclear weapon as the author mentioned about 'Pashupatastra', how exposing anyone to such a devastating force can cause a massive destruction. Focusing on such issues is essential and it was imbibed well in the plot line.
Otherwise, I didn’t find the narrative too remarkable or the language befitting the times it was based on. There was a map on the back of the book for reference but I felt the world building could have been better with a bit more description, to make it more of a breathtaking saga it had the potential of being and what I had expected it to be.
Overall, a good attempt at mythological fiction