Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Book Review #33 : The Secrets of the Dark - The Debt of Blood is Never Repaid

Title : The Secrets of the Dark
Author : Arka Chakrabarti
Publisher : Srishti Publishers Distributors
ISBN : 978-93-80349-90-9
Number of Pages : 342
Price [INR] : 195
Genre: Fantasy Fiction

Is one born with his destiny or does he forge it?

In the mystical land of Gaya, two prophecies bind the fate of men and empires alike. The Destroyer born from the royal seed on the Land of the Setting Sun shall bring the empires down, or so has been foretold.

In between the Destroyer and the world stand the Seven Guardians of Gaya, guarding the realm of man. A king, a father, defies the Seven and fate itself to save the last drop of his blood and prince Agni grows in the Land of the Rising Sun, exiled from his own people, unaware of his past.

Losing the woman he loved most to the shadows in the dark, Agni is thrown into a whirlpool of events that he neither knows, nor understands. His quest for vengeance brings him to the doorstep of a secret that will shatter the very foundation of beliefs of a world.

Can Agni avert his destiny? Can he uncover the truth about the Seven and the prophecies, now hidden behind a veil of ignorance?

The secrets of the dark are sometimes so terrible that they are better left unsaid.


The detailed map of Gaya in the beginning and the details of the fictional land of Gaya and the list of characters in the end is good.

I liked the world of Gaya. Well set up and well described. The author indeed has an eye for detail and gift of painting very vivid images through his words.

The effort put by Arka is evident from his writing. There's a good control of language and pace of narration that kept me interested in it from start to finish. The characters have a certain depth to them, and the ending to this first part of the Saga of Agni series is not something we expect to happen.

An interesting beginning in what promises to be a riveting series involving prophecies, end of world predictions, kings, kingdoms, wars, princesses, bravery, chivalry, valour and the 'prophesied one' who could either make or break it all. The first book sets things up quite well and is quite packed with a tearing narrative which takes us across important happenings on both sides of Gaya, viz, the land of the rising sun and the land of the setting sun. It introduces us to Agni, the 'one' and to Princess Lysandra and her bravery on the battlefield as well.

The battle narrations are good. I think a little more effort on the design of the cover might have attracted the attention of the readers what the book reserved. Even the tagline - the debt of blood is never repaid - on the cover page is blunt.

I like Arka’s narration. It’s right there with the sort of language I’d expect in a fantasy genre novel, something that’s not direct enough to tell what is happening, and just enough to show it. Like Agni, soft-spoken and sensitive one moment, brave and valiant later and having the sense to understand the people around him as well.

The writer should be praised for creating a visual platform for his characters. There are places where he absolutely keeps the readers spell bound with each turn of events especially when the real identity of each character is revealed. 

The Secret of the Dark is author’s debut novel and at no point it looks like one. This being a historical fiction, Arka has done a lot of research to share the various facts, concepts, mythological characters and all about the period they lived in, which is truly fascinating. This is not the genre that I read regularly, still I was hooked to this book right from the very beginning. The credit for this goes to the author and his remarkable story telling abilities.

Since this is the first part of the series, his future book will solely depend on the success of the first book. Quite a risk, but will be highly rewarded too. Indian authors are waking up to explore different types of writing.

Overall, I feel the book was quite engaging and can’t wait to see what part 2 of The Saga of Agni will have to offer. Go for it for the book will keep you entertained!

Recommended. Happy Reading.

Ratings - 4/5

P.S: A review copy of this book was provided to me as part of the Book Review Tour for the series of books conducted by b00k r3vi3ws.

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