I received the book Tunnel of Varnavat: Mahabharata Reimagined by Gautam Chikermane as a review copy from Rupa Publications and I would like to thank Rizwan Khan for the same. The story, as the name suggests, a part of Mahabharata reimagined. Personally for me, reading a new angle of mythology takes a lot of effort, not physically but mentally, because I have to first unlearn what I had read or heard in my childhood and then refocus. But that aside, I enjoyed the book.
Badri, chief miner of the Kuru empire and a soldier with a dark past, has given up the glamorous life of a Kshatriya and lives like an ordinary citizen, hiding in the intricate mesh of tunnels he has created for the protection of the royals. But when Prince Duryodhan hatches yet another conspiracy to kill the Pandavs, this time by burning them in Purochan’s house of lak at Varanavat, it is only Badri who can save them. On this mission, he has to deal with treacherous cannibals, rebel leader Janaki and mercenary Durjan. He also needs to rekindle love with soldier-soulmate Urvashi and fight his biggest enemy Vishnu. At the same time he must conquer the demons within. Will he succeed in saving the Pandavs—and himself?
Set in the mystical world of the Mahabharata, Tunnel of Varanavat explores the physical and spiritual transformation of a reluctant warrior.
Every time a book is written about an unsung hero from an epic, it grabs my attention. We have all read that the Kauravas gifted the Pandavas a Lakshagriha or Purochan’s Palace made of Lac (laquer), a highly combustible substance and set the palace on fire, but the Pandavas escaped through a tunnel under the palace. Now who helped them, never came to my mind. Why? Because, we were taught that, God always takes care of the righteous people.
The book has been written in first person from the point of view of the main chatacter, Badri. The author has described Badri’s feelings and his past in detail. The story has been written in a way that I could actually picturise many scenes. It was like a movie playing, many a times.
The language is simple and the pace is well maintained, though there were a few places where I felt that the pace had slackened a bit, but the story covered up for it.
Overall, a very well written book
Recommended for lovers of mythology.