Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Taj Conspiracy:Book Review

Pictured Above: Manreet Sodhi Someshwar, author of the Taj Conspiracy at a bloggers meet up, organized by Westland Books at The Punjab Grill
The Taj Conspiracy, by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is essentially a thriller which centers on India’s most defining monument- the Taj Mahal. The protagonist Mehrunisa Khosa, who is of mixed race, half Indian and half Persian, is a Mughal scholar who identifies strongly with the Taj Mahal, as she looks at it as a reflection of her  own mixed heritage.  The book begins with Mehrunisa stumbling upon the dead body of the Taj supervisor, Arun Toor (Da Vinci Code anyone?). Mehrunisa eventually finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation and later notices that the calligraphy on Queen Mumtaz’s cenotaph has been changed to signify a Hindu origin to the Taj; the doings of a Hindu right-wing extremist group, who are adamant on proving that the Taj is originally a Shiv temple.

I was hooked!

Manreet has put in years of research to come up with accurate facts of the Taj Mahal, putting together a fast paced thriller which packs history, politics, bureaucracy, scandal and urban legends, in the right amount which makes sure you keep turning the pages in anticipation.

The narrative is gripping and there are enough twists and turns to make you gasp, along with the well sketched characters of Mehrunisa and cops SSP Raghav and R.P Singh who work ceaselessly to find out the conspirator behind this evil plan to destroy India’s most famous monument.

The end of the book, I’ll admit, was a tad disappointing and a bit too dramatic for my liking and it didn’t really do justice to the suspense that had been built up all along. Apart from that, I’d still recommend you read it, given Someshwar’s accurate research and the way she has effortlessly blended elements like fiction, history and politics into this unputdowanable thriller which keeps you glued.

(This is a book review requested by the publisher)

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