Book Title: Let The Game Begin
Author: Sandeep Sharma
Total Number of Pages: 183
Publisher: Inspire India Publishers
Publishing Date: 1st June 2016
Printed Price: INR 165
Review by Sohinee Dey
‘Let The Game Begin’ is a historical thriller penned by Sandeep Sharma and can be considered as a “steam boat” with a diverse range of ingredients ranging from mystery, suspense, to crime immersed into the soup of history; served piping hot! The book begins with a voice-over (in written format of course) narrating a particular obscure scene in which ‘Lambasa Parvat‘ and the mysterious ‘cave of mrityunjay‘ are seen contributing to the scene. After the slight perusal, the scene shifts back to iterate a past world, laid back at 4000 years ago and sets on to confabulate a rivalry between two kingdoms, Chaturanga and Sarprakt which have been perpetuating since ages. Chaturanga, ruled by King Viratha is bestowed with a dynamic heir, Prince Devrat. On the other hand, Sarprakt prepares for the war and plans a conspiracy to destroy the Chaturanga kingdom. When at war, it proves to be the time of evil because Samprakt proves to be successful in their execution and Prince Devrat heaves his last breath. Hurt and angered by the unfortunate event, King Viratha sets on to seek revenge and devises a method along with a mysterious man named trikalagyani to recreate the conspiracy. The conspiracy is not known to King Viratha but trikalagyani knows it all. The conspiracy is recreated in a game of chess and hence, the title of the book.
The narration paces on to the present times from the past and is fuelled with a series of mysterious killings all linking up to different chess pieces. The chess pieces are believed to be clues to the murders by RAW and CLAW; the intelligence agency and the security agency of the Prime Minister respectively.
While the plot and the the theme is extremely refreshing and diverges away from the mainstream cliché, the sub-plot fails to divulge completely into the land of mystery and history. Since the plot is crafted based on historical events and is set in a backdrop of historical archives, a more proper historical set up with geographical timelines would have spiced up and supported the plot in a more sensible way. Also, the characters of the present time, weren’t developed properly. They had more of an inclination towards being titled as “naive” rather than being professional detectives. Also, another thing which I felt was the sub-plot wasn’t stitched to the main plot properly and thus failed to enhance the events with proper reasoning. Bringing in the thought of chess and linking it to murders was good, but it didn’t answer the question “Why”. Again, I would say that including chess into the storyline was not supported by any valid reasonings. The inclusion of various sub-plots kind of made the main plot more complicated and it became a bit harder for me to navigate and truly understand what was going on. Linking chess to recreate the conspiracy just because the kingdom of Chaturanga was named after the game of chess; that reasoning felt a little vague to me. The story starts off pretty good but with increase in chapters, the plotline loses the interesting factor and drops down slowly on the compelling meter.
Except the certain plot holes, there weren’t any grammatical glitches nor were there any punctuation errors that I could cringe upon. The only thing which I noticed was, there were some printing mistakes on some pages and some words didn’t get printed on the others. Other than that there weren’t any such major mistakes that a reader can stare upon. Overall, the language was pretty good and use of vocabulary was also proper. The dialogues though good would have been more lively with more enhancement on “showing” rather than “telling”.
My final verdict—
I could catch the whiff of refreshing touch that the book brought with itself. The theme and the idea was was new to me and very different from what I have read till now. The whodunit at heart of the plotline serves its purpose as the mystery of the killer is kept in the dark till the end of the story but the execution lacked richness.
This book can be read by all. This is quite an interesting story. It might not be too exciting or enthralling to read but it sure does has the elements of mystery and crime that would fascinate you. So, give this a read if you are looking for a book that strays away from cliché and stands out on its own.
Book cover: 4/5
Language and Vocabulary: 4/5
Grammar and Punctuation: 4.5/5
Overall, I’ll rate it with 3.5 stars out of 5.
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