Tag Archives: Westland

The Tree Bears Witness: A Birbal Mystery book by Sharath Komarraju – a book review

tree bears witness

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Westland (17 November 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9386850443
  • ISBN-13: 978-9386850447
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm

This is a wonderful thriller with the background of the Akbar and his famous and favourite courtier Mahesh Das popularly known as Birbal. There is a murder in the Palace and the murdered is one of the guest from Rajputs called Sujjamal.

Akbar has this responsibility given to none other than his trusted courtier Birbal. The best part is the victim is the brother of one of the new Rajput bride Hina Kunwari and she has just come into the palace.

Now the thing is if this murder is not cracked that might have a lot of repercussions for the Emperor to high stakes political issues with the Rajputs and other leaders in the region. And also time is of the essence and the Emperor cannot wait for the crime to be wrapped in suspense on who did it and as such gives Birbal two days to get the murderer.

The story is well narrated with instances that has the readers hooked to the last page. Ofcourse the fact that there was no witness and how there was no witness are all well taken up by Birbal as he builds up his case in the short time that he has at his disposal.

The time he spends with the guards at the place who are a part of the suspect list and the stories that he hears from the older man gives him a bit of hint in making the tree a witness.

The story is how Birbal gets to crack the case with all the suspects involved and help Akbar regain his respect with the new bride makes for an interesting Sherlock story. For once the tree becomes a witness and helps solve a murder mystery.

Well narrated and fast paced the story is planted in a nice setting on the Akbar era and it makes for an easy understanding of the characters.

Worth a read if you are into mystery novels. Pick your book here.. Amazon | Flipkart

The Peshwa – War of the deceivers by Ram Sivasankaran – a book review

    Ram Sivasankaran’s The Peshwa – war of deceivers
    • Language: English
    • Binding: Paperback
    • Publisher: Westland
    • ISBN: 9789387578654, 9387578658
    • Edition: 2018
    • Pages: 496

    A terrific tale of war strategy that was a hall mark of the Marathas during their period and the story is a classic thriller which ever way you look at it. A page turner with a historical approach makes it easy to be with all the characters. The author Siva Sankaran has done a wonderful research on this subject to churn out this book.

    Intrigue and backstabbing and the ruthlessness of the warfare tactics and the infiltration among the sides make it very fragile. The pace at which the story goes is pretty fast and makes it a compelling read. Everything is fair in love and war was the phrase but you get to see it in real in this book. The details of gruesome warfare tactics, the manipulation at every turn and the twists and turns make this an unputdownable book.

    Just as you keep wondering what is the Peshwa Baji Rao Bhat thinking or if he is being outsmarted, you are led to a black hole in the real sense. The author has a knack of pointing your thoughts in a different direction and leading you through the maze.

    The intricate detailing of the mercenaries and their ways of destruction and also the way the Scorpions deal deathly blow to the Marathas are worth the research and the author has taken pains to take s through the age and also make us revel in the time frame that he narrates the story.

    The story is also very personal in a way the relationship between the characters are concerned. There is this father’s love, a daughters love, and on the other side we have doting lovers in Peshwa and his wife.

    I think the build up and the suspense has been absolutely taken care by the author and he leaves no stones turned to keep us riveted to the story through out. The narration of going back and forth also has been very well handled. The author packs a full fledged historical thriller into a book of almost 500 pages and sure has the sign of being made into a movie.

    Pick up this book and you will enjoy a bit of war time history, some real history, and if you love twists and plots…

    Pick your copies here : Amazon | Flipkart

    Ancient Chants for Modern Living by Aatmanika Ram #bookreview


    Publisher Westland
    ISBN-10 9385152602
    Number of Pages 168 Pages
    Publication Year 2016
    Language English
    ISBN-13 9789385152603
    Binding Paperback

    These are fast times and when you have ancient and modern in one single sentence you have a challenge. Here in this book Ancient Chants for Modern Living the author Aatmanika Ram takes us through a thoroughly and easy to digest research of Sholkas of the Ancient times and how we can leverage the same in modern day.

    Personally for me, it was a memory down the lane, esp of the shlokas the ‘sahanavavathu’ as we chanted them at the start of every class in school, to the ‘thrayambagam yajamahe’ whenever we had someone have health issues.

    It is to the credit of the author that she has deftly wielded the subject with finesse and clearly marked them as topics that would have an immediate connect with the readers.

    The shlokas are from the ancient texts to the C Rajagopalachari’s Kurai Ondrum illai, all that have an impact even just by listening and the experience is elevated by having them chanted with proper pronunciation and at the right times.

    You also have the yoga postures that you could add to your way of life to maximise the impact of these chants. The suggestion on the audio or video makes for a practical aspect of the book, but I think as a suggestion those should have been added as a reference in the chapters for the readers so it’s easy to follow. You never know our modern habits of skipping things for want of time.

    These experiences as I see it has to be tested by individuals by following it very diligently so that they have a real healing effect, since these are always about the faith and the result will be there for all to see.

    The challenge of the book is in its ability to cover a wide range of issues and presenting it succinctly, since I am sure the vastness of the ancient text given to its interpretations and commentaries are so huge. A great attempt has actually crystallised into a nice readable form and presented in a manner that its easy to read and easy to implement.

    The temple visits could also be generalised since the same form of the God and Godesses are present across the terrain of our country though I am sure those mentioned will have more of spiritual benefit too.

    A very concise presentation in what is supposed to be a big set of texts and easy to digest form, the chants should work magic in whatever endeavour you are trying to master or get in.

    All in all a nice effort to introduce the importance of chants and the purpose led definitions for the common man who otherwise would be just looking at it from a third man’s perspective as an alien Sanskrit shloka.

    For starters this is a very inspiring book that has the magic of healing in truest sense.


    Brutal by Uday Satpathy – a book review



    As you start reading the first page you know you are in for a treat, thriller treat. Somethings in the air and Uday Satpathy makes an awesome start to a tale that gets better as you turn the pages.

    As the cover states, this is an author who holds a lot of promise and that coming from none other than Ravi Subramanian, the John Grisham of India is a matter of fact. The book is brutal to the fact that it moves fast and gets you on to the last page. I did this in two train journey of 2 hours each. That’s how gripping it is. Very simple and easy to follow narrative is one of the most important aspects of a three part book. The author holds your attention till the last page and you heave a sigh that it ended but then it has ended so fast.

    When you have been through a racy, thriller being with the characters and be in the dark as much they were, you know the author has made his mark. The impressive thing about the novel is its narration and the way it takes turn to deliver the thrilling sensation. Connecting dots and getting to the root of the problem, we have characters that symbolizes that to a great extent, press reporters and a financial analyst turned data analyst.

    Stray incidents are not just stray incidents anymore. There might be too much underneath an incident that it never asks for its attention. Such incidents form the basis of this novel.

    The characterization of Prakash Sinha and Seema are intertwined to give us two different roads of journalistic perspectives in a way. Working on the minds of these two journalist and getting ahead of the villains if you call them is what the story is all about.

    Another aspect is the way the story is set and the very thought that fiction might turn true is one of the biggest plus of this book, there has been a lot of research in the way its is presented and like I said the dots being connected to understand what is in store makes for an interesting and compelling read.

    There are lot of characters in this book, though they hold your attention, we could have done with a bit less possibly. The main characters of course have a pivot of their own.

    An important and significant mention here is that Brutal is India’s first  crowd sourced and crowd curated book. Bloody Good Books in a initiative of Rashmi Bansal and Niyati Patel and it has started off with a big bang I should say. Having been a fan and an avid reader of Rashmi Bansal I am sure we are headed for better titles and great stories in the future.

    Thanks Bloody Good Books for sending a e-copy of the book.

    The Hunt for Kohinoor by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar – a book review


    Publisher Westland Publisher
    Publication Year 2013 October
    ISBN-13 9789383260607
    ISBN-10 9383260602
    Language English
    Edition 1st
    Binding Paperback
    Number of Pages 432 Pages
    Book Type Fiction Book

    I should admit that I am being introduced to Mehrunisa the protagonist of this wonderful story for the first time courtesy – Westland who sent this book for review.

    After going through this novel – a 96 hour episode in as half the time given my relocation pangs, I am sure this is one of the racy pacy thrillers, call it a clean race from the lights to the chequered flag. A classical story with the background of a dad and a daughter in search of a secrets that could change the way the world is. What does it mean to see your father after 17 long years not knowing if he was alive or dead? And when you want to see him, you are assigned a mission impossible.

    An extremely  well researched and well thought of plot carries the story with twists and turns as much as the geography and topography of the place it is happening across the border. The play of emotion and the characterization of the yearning daughter and the dad who has found his lovely daughter after 17 years and the motive to live the dream for both of them works very well. This takes them through the terrains, on the roads, and the hilly slopes, literally in between the bomb blasts and firing across the terrain.

    Intricately woven story with the emotional tag of both the characters will get on you and that makes for a fast reading and a lucid writing narrative works like magical flow making you live the pages through.

    The author has used a great deal of imagination with reality as she moves on with the saga and you can easily identify with the characters and their reactions. You have a best seller and a page turner in this book.

    On another plane, I think we know very very less of our neighbouring nation  and in this story, the portrayal of the human connect and sanity is also well woven to suit the times and issues here.

    It was a happy reading of the ways even in a fiction that some people stake their lives and family for the sake of the nation and it is being done without the fanfare that we are always used to.

    I would consider these stories  as a celebration of the unknown men and women who are wide awake so that we could sleep without a second thought.

    Read this and you will love the characterization, the human bonding especially the one with the family that drives people to heights and terrains that can best be described as geography in real.

    Thanks Westland for sending in this book. This is a fast read, has the best twists and turns to keep you on the hook and get you racing till the end.

    You would not take more than 96 hours I say! Literally

    You can buy your copy here:   Amazon Click Here  |  Flipkart Click here



    RIP – by Mukul Deva a book review!

    For someone living in Delhi, this book would definitely make them sit up and identify every character and place so seamlessly that you would be living the action as you turn the pages.

    In his inimitable style of making another thriller, Mukul Deva demonstrates his plot with unusual ease and tackles the storyline with believable characters.

    RIP is a story set in the times of peaceful anti corruption movement of 2011, while the country is agitated with the corruption and the masses join the movement, elsewhere a group of ex-SPG men led by Col Krishna Athawale decide to form Resurgent Indian Patriots  and teach the politicians a lesson in a way that they would understand, ofcourse it needed to hurt them literally and they chose the violent route.

    The RIP chooses its targets with precision that would would only be a mark of a former army personnel. They know its a gamble that they are on and especially if they mis-step even once, that would be the end of their mission and even their life.  But the team is committed and works its plan to the tee and executes them to the dot.

    Raising the stakes much higher, they announces their intent so that they police and the govt make all necessary precaution and to make their point continue to literally execute the offenders.

    The story also has the Govt.’s angle with the Home Minister Karunakaran deciding to do a private investigation and derail the RIP. He in fact hires Raghav again an ex special protection group personnel, to ground the RIP. What would it be without the real police or the investigating wing in here and you have the CBI Director also playing an important role in the story.

    The story also has some emotional moments with the personal side of the characters and how they cope with the stress of the work and try balancing it personally.

    The character of Reena  and of the kids add to the emotional value to the storyline, which otherwise is just the professional working of the RIP in action.

    The last and the final assault of RIP is gripping to the core especially as the narrative turns on from the central Delhi to the Noida the final stages giving in to real suspense.

    The book has the script of the movie showing in front of your eyes, and you could sometimes see yourself in the drivers seat and visualise whats happening in front of you and also in the rear view mirror.

    The romance of Reena and Krishna though a bit exaggerated adds for some nice conversations and in that the author gives way to the human side of the characters .

    The villain of the piece Raghav gets to play his role though he is late by a minute which in this story is very very late.

    Though you might get to draw parallels to the characters and situations in the story, I think given a chance the reader and the country men at large will want an exercise like that, atleast a fanciful one if it could change the face of the country and wipe off the corrupt.

    Thanks to the author’s background, he has a vivid and interesting way to present the armed forces and their role in the nation building especially when during peace times or the things they do to avert a war.

    Senthilkumar R

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