Authors

A superficial resemblance

Christopher Doyle   | Photo Credit: Meeta Ahlawat

Christopher C Doyle’s Son of Bhrigu releasing on April 16, is the first book of a new series, The Pataala Prophecy. The book talks of a teenager, Arjun, whose regular life is turned upside down when he realises he is a kshatriya. He finds out he is the chosen one from an ancient prophecy and has to stop the end of the world. With their lives in danger, Arjun and his best friend, Maya, flee Delhi to a gurukul, which is hidden in plain sight at a nature resort.

Any resemblance to a certain Mr Potter and Hogwarts is “superficial,” Doyle says. “Every element in my book is based on Indian culture and the ancient texts and if there is a resemblance to anything, that is where it lies. Ancient India had gurukuls to hone your skills. In the Mahabharata, rishis had ashrams where their disciples learnt the scriptures and developed their skills. Kshatriyas had gurus to teach them how to wield weapons.

“As the series unfolds, readers will learn more about the back stories of the main characters. The lost prophecy in Son of Bhrigu was created by the Saptarishis. As for non-magical people being differentiated, unlike Harry Potter, where you are born either a wizard or a muggle, in The Pataala Prophecy everyone is born a sadh, without any powers. The differentiation is not based on your birth but linked to several factors which are explained in the book. The philosophy of the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam run deep in the book and through the series, making it quite different from the adventures of a young British wizard, who was born with magical powers.”

Several reasons

A new series after two books from Doyle’s The Mahabharata Quest series is surprising. “There are a few reasons for this. I wanted to write something different from what I have written so far. The Quest series is unique because of the deep scientific connections I establish with the Mahabharata. Along the way, I thought it would be nice to write something in the realm of fantasy based on Indian mythology. The research for the Quest is extensive and the next book will only release in 2019. I thought it would be good to give my readers something new and different while they wait.

“Over the last few years, I have realised that there is a deep interest among readers of all age groups, to know more about Indian mythology and our ancient texts, which many people have not read. So I thought the series would be an ideal platform to give them what they seek.”

Not young adult

Even though Son of Bhrigu has teenagers as protagonists, Doyle says it is not in the YA genre. “The book is a fantasy thriller. Young adults are one segment of the readers who will read the series, just like they are one segment of my readers for the Quest series.”

The book has references to the Bhagwad Gita and rishis aplenty, yet there is no religious slant to it. “There is no role for religion in fantasy or in thrillers. I have taken mythological as well as philosophical elements and combined them in a tale of mystery and adventure. A religious approach would be at odds with the plot and the storyline.”

Cover up

Talking of the dramatic cover, Doyle says, “I love the cover. It was designed by my friend Anand Prakash (who has designed the covers for all my books) and illustrated by Ishan Trivedi. Anand came up with the concept and I gave my inputs to Ishan who brought that vision to life with his brilliant illustrations. And Anand also included elements from the book that he felt would come together well. It was Anand’s idea to get the cover illustrated rather than use stock images.”

On how many books the series will have, Doyle says, “I don’t usually plan ahead that far. I think the series will have around five or six books.

The 51-year-old author says the research “was not as extensive or time consuming as it was for The Mahabharata Quest series. It was not easy either. I am no expert on the ancient texts that I had to read, but I had the help of experts on the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam – notably my friend and author Shubha Vilas, who has been studying and teaching the Vedic texts for two decades. My earlier research on the Mahabharata also helped.”

The author who is the founder of The Growth Catalysts, runs The Quest Club, a free online club for readers. “I post notes on my research, videos, photo tours of locations and interesting information on mysteries of the past.”

Doyle said considering “Book 3 of the Quest series will take time, it is quite possible that Book 2 of The Pataala Prophecy will be out next, since most of the research is already done.”

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 3:45:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-authors/a-superficial-resemblance/article23513516.ece

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