Many hues of myths, mysteries and history

Indo Asian News Service

There is a battle between celestial and dark forces, an extraordinary tale of riddles is to be solved, waking up to a new world loaded with challenges and the story of Guru Gobind Singh. The IANS bookshelf this weekend offers a mix of many hues. Take a look.

1. Book: Path of the Swan; Author: Charu Singh; Publisher: Hachette; Pages: 445; Price: Rs. 499

Lama Ozer and his novitiate Tashi leave the hidden monastery where they have lived all their lives in answer to a call from the legendary kingdom of Shambala received by the lama while deep in trance.

Battling the freezing cold and snow of high, mist-laden passes and the many evil forces that thwart their progress, they trek through Sikkim and Tibet to arrive at the Silver fortress. Here they meet a host of divine and dark celestial beings, including the golden dakini, Yeshe Nam Lha, daughter of the goddess Tara; prince A-Karo, heir to the Lha empire; and prince Narsimha, heir to the Rigdens and the Shambala legacy.

Both the princes are Yeshe's guardians and suitors, and she must travel with them to earth where it is decreed that her child, Maitreya, the saviour, will be born. But before that happens they have the Asur forces to combat, and the dark prince, who holds Yeshe captive, enthralled by his brooding menace, bewitched by his spell.

Drawing richly from the vast pantheon of other worldly beings that populate the myths of the Mahayana school of Buddhism, this book is the first part of a Tibetan-Buddhist fantasy series.

2. Book: Founder of the Khalsa: The Life and Times of Guru Gobind Singh; Author: Amardeep S. Dahiya; Publisher: Hay House; Pages: 360; Price: Rs. 599

Guru Gobind , founder of the Khalsa, saint, warrior par excellence, poignant poet, philosopher, soulful human being - was the illustrious 10th guru of the Sikhs.

This book goes beyond the untimely assassination of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Guru Gobind Singh's coronation, the battles of Bhangani and Nadaun, his stay at Paonta Sahib and Anandpur Sahib, and the historic creation of the Khalsa.

The book talks about other events that sought to widely establish the Khalsa, including the battle of Nirmohgar, the siege and evacuation of Anandpur sahib, the battles of Chamkaur, Kidrana and Muktsar, his Zafarnama to Aurangzeb and subsequent meeting with Bahadur Shah Zafar in Agra. It also provides some unknown facts about the anointment of the holy book of the Sikhs - the Guru Granth Sahib - as the eternal guiding light.

3. Book: Shiva and the Rise of the Shadows; Author: Kanika Dhillon; Publisher: Duckbill; Pages: 236; Price: Rs. 250

Cities across the world have been decimated by nuclear bombs, the air and water are poisoned and humanity is dying out. Shiva's parents have been killed, and his brother has disappeared. But he is determined to survive the bizarre new world, hiding in Dharavi, Mumbai, with his little cousin Vasuki, the only family left to him.

Until one morning, when Shiva wakes up in a new school, with no memory of how he got there. And he finds that this school is like no other and his classmates are unlike people he has met before. They can do strange and impossible things - disappear, influence minds, telekinesis - but why is he here, when he has no such special ability?

Slowly and surely, Shiva discovers new and frightening things about himself as he is sucked into the ancient battle between the shadows and the keepers, the result of which will change the world forever.

4. Book: The Emperor's Riddles; Author: Satyarth Nayak; Publisher: Amaryllis; Pages: 398; price: Rs. 299

More terrifying than the savage murder of historian Ram Mathur on the ghats of the Ganga are the questions that follow. The letter carved on his face, the cryptic mail he sends his daughter Sia after he dies, more murders piling up. Desperate for answers, Sia turns to esoteric writer and friend Om Patnaik. But what begins as a hunt for the killer becomes an extraordinary trail of riddles strewn across the country that must end at the gates of an enigma. Patnaik and Sia race from one riddle to another, towards a royal secret that has remained alive for centuries.

Will the final truth save them or destroy them forever?