Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Fantasy and Magic
Sachin Dev’s “Faith of the Nine” leads its readers into ‘Janani’ - a world created by nine Gods with a song -, and makes them live through the trials and tribulations of a civilization built by warriors, magicians and philosophers. Evil battling forces threaten to prey on them, as the nine Gods seem to have forgotten them. The nine Gods from the title may be mysterious and ephemeral, but we feel their powerful presence throughout the novel.
The novel is not the retelling of an ancient Indian epic, which places “Faith of the Nine” among the first Indian novels to create alternative reality that is convincing and vividly described
Creative metaphors and images that abound in the novel describe not just the landscape of fantasy , but thought processes as well, and amply show case the writer’s command over the language. These samples of his descriptive power are from the same page:
Fear tugged at him, an animal cornered under the glare of a thousand lit torches….
… like a muslin drape catching fire, realization dawned on him…
The rift in the realm manifested itself as a dark oozing wound…
The action in the novel is equally graphic and gripping.
“She saw Rukshar dart forwards from the side, pouncing like a hungry jaguar. Her hands were moving and the broken, jagged window frame exploded on the soldier’s head. The lightning faded and the man crumpled slowly.”
Memorable landmarks dot the terrain of Janani such as an enchanted garden with flesh eating plants, the stormy desert with rakshasas buried in its depths, the unvisited ivory tower of the wise men, along with normal looking cities bustling with activity and sleepy villages, bountifully blessed with grain.
Fateh, the warrior, one from a long line of wise commanders, Abhaya the conscientious and caring super human monk, Ishan, the divine child, adventurous and fearless, Bajah, his faithful foster mother: all of them are sketched realistically enough for readers to traverse the real world and venture into the fantastic empire of Nam and get involved into the fate of the noble and the able. Evil characters such as the soul devouring Yakshis, demonic and diversely formed Rakshasas, born in the void and monsters are etched with memorable characteristics and add considerably to the fantastic elements of the novel.
The clash between good and evil is presented in all its complexity in an alternate universe, where humans exist along with the supernatural and the demonic. “Faith of the nine” thus provides tasty fare in classy language, making it a good choice for not just fantasy aficionados, but to others who are curious to know what this genre is all about.