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Christopher C Doyle experiments with the contemporary fantasy thriller format in the Pataala series

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Magic, myth and mystery

In The Mists of Brahma (Westland), Christopher C Doyle’s second book in The Pataala Prophecy series, teenage besties, Arjun and Maya continue to battle a strong adversary even as they struggle through love, loss and growing up. While Doyle’s other books are a heady mix of history, science, suspense and thrills, The Pataala Prophecy series adds mythology, magic and fantasy into the mix.

The Secret of the Druids (Book 2 of The Mahabharata Quest series) was published in 2016. “After that, the next logical release was Book 3,”says Doyle who was in Bengaluru for the launch of The Mists of Brahma. “However, in 2017, I realised that the research for Book 3 was going to take much longer than I thought. I had, for some time, also wanted to experiment with the contemporary fantasy thriller format (where mythology meets the real world in modern times). Most of the research for a fantasy thriller was already completed, since it involved mythology and ancient texts which I have been doing for more than 15 years now. This meant that I could write a new series quite fast and release it while I was researching for The Quest series. That is how The Pataala Prophecy series was launched in April 2018, with Son of Bhrigu. I followed that up with The Mists of Brahma because I knew the research for The Quest series would finish only sometime in late 2019/early 2020.”

Doyle says, “I don’t write for a specific audience. When The Alexander Secret (Book 1 of The Mahabharata Quest series) was released, I realised that I was getting a lot of emails from school children as young as 12 or 13, even though that book had no characters who were less than 28 years old. Children were reading them because they found them interesting. It is the same with The Pataala Prophecy series. While Arjun and Maya are 15 years old, there are also older characters with strong roles and I find a lot of readers are over 18 years old—so this series is not a children’s series either. I would say that my readers range from 12 years to 60 plus years.

The Delhi-based author says he started The Quest Club “as a platform where I could share my research, as well as videos and photographs of locations I visit for my research. This has become a great platform to connect and communicate with my readers. We have Quest Club meets whenever I visit a city and we also have online meetings where we connect via Zoom – this way I can interact with readers in places which I don’t visit. We are now a community of more than 11000 members from many countries.”

Christopher C Doyle experiments with the contemporary fantasy thriller format in the Pataala series

All those who thought Arjun was the protagonist of the Pataala Prophecy, after Son of Bhrigu, began to look at Maya as the protagonist after The Mists of Brahma. “I love being unpredictable. All I will say is that the future books in the series will overturn a lot of assumptions that people have made.”

Doyle has a lot of interactions with schoolchildren—in fact he visited schools in Bengaluru too.

“I realised that a lot of youngsters were reading The Mahabharata Quest series, even though it was not written with children in mind. I was getting a lot of queries from these young readers on various subjects. In 2016 I decided to launch a school outreach program. Over the last three years, I have visited more than 75 schools across India and interacted with more than 20,000 students from grades 7 to 12. These are interactive sessions, of around one hour, where I share a lot of my research with the children and answer their questions on science, history and mythology. The way I see it, this is one of the best ways to promote reading among children.”

Though Doyle plans three more books in The Pataala Prophecy series, he says next up is definitely the Quest series. “Book 3 of the series should release towards the end of 2020 since I have almost wrapped up the research now and will begin writing soon.

As of now, Doyle says there are no plans for a crossover between the two series. “I like the action in books to take place in a short time period. The exception has been The Mists of Brahma but that was essential to moving the story forward. Overall, I think the entire series will encompass a time period of around two years.”

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 9:19:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/teenage-besties-continue-to-battle-a-strong-adversary-in-christopher-c-doyles-second-book/article30523520.ece

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