First of all, I am amazed that three people could come together to write a novel. I seriously wonder how they managed it 🙂 There haven’t been many books written in science fiction genre by Indian authors. I found it quite refreshing to read something different for a change.
Phil is a hacker who escapes from the police into a strange forest. Disoriented and tired, he collapses in the forest and is awakened by a strange being, who he thinks to be an angel. He discovers a shack in the middle of the forest and finds it to be a laboratory of a scientist named Shiv. Shiv is your average mad scientist who pops in diet pills to get on with an experiment. Initially skeptical about his new unwanted guest, he grudgingly allows Phil to stay for a few days. Next character to enter the scene is Arty, an artist who lives in the forest. He draws and sketches flowers and nature and hunts whenever he gets hungry.
Watching over them is a strange alien being called Xona, who has come down to the planet to conduct experiments and to exterminate the species that they had created. Naming herself as ‘Agni’, Xona befriends them. Phil is enamored by her charms while Shiv is attracted to her intelligence but Arty alone remains immune to her. Posing as a fellow scientist, Agni comes often to their shack, looking for an opportunity to retrieve the bracelet that she had dropped in the forest. One day she finds Phil alone and she uses the opportunity to plant a fantasy dream in his sub conscious and escapes with her bracelet after destroying the shack and its contents.
Shiv is furious with Phil and he throws him out. Arty is furious because his drawings are damaged and Phil finds that his computer and hard disk are corrupted beyond repair. Will they come together to discover the mystery behind this?
The plot is intriguing and it begins well. Agni/Xona’s appearance in the forest and the way she meets these three strangers adds to the mystery. But I feel that the plot flounders after Xona’s identity is revealed. She takes them on a journey through past and present and tells them that she is going to exterminate them. They realize that they have to rise above their potential to become better human beings. They come back to the shack to resolve their problems. Phil is suddenly able to retrieve all his data and proves himself innocent in the hacking case. Shiv discovers a medicine that can cure cancer and Arty suddenly becomes a tribal chief uniting two warring tribes together. The climax was definitely a let down for a book that began so well. The language is simple and easy to read but requires a much tighter editing.
Plus Points: A genre that is not much explored by Indian authors and an interesting plot. I especially liked the alien theories and concepts that were discussed in the book.
Minus Points: The plot flounders in the end and the resolution is not as interesting as the conflict.
Verdict: An interesting read overall. And a commendable effort by all the three authors.