New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) Enter into an enchanting world of fantasy and adventure, in which mythology, action and suspense come together; read the romantic story of a man, who has to embark on a journey that spans thousands of miles and pulls him back into a past; flick through a timely, inquisitive chronicle of malaria and its influence on human lives; and enjoy a celebration of flora and fauna, particularly of the profusion of commonly found plant life that flourishes in most regions of Bengal.
IANS bookshelf has a variety of subjects to offer to this weekend.
1. Book: The Pataala Prophecy; Author: Christopher C Doyle; Publisher: Westland; Price: Rs 399; Pages: 347
Fifteen-year-old Maya and Arjun find their placid world suddenly overturned when their favourite history teacher is found brutally murdered. The death shocks students at the school and baffles the police.
Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger’s reappearance after 5,000 years strikes fear into the hearts of powerful members of a secret society, called the Sangha.
Who is he and what is he after? What secrets are Arjun’s uncle and mother hiding and why do they inexplicably decide to leave town for an unknown destination? What is the Pataala Prophecy, that must be decoded even as the world hurtles towards a fate that may doom humanity?
In a race against time, Arjun and Maya must join forces with the Sangha to face an ageless and terrible enemy from the depths of Pataala. But can they overcome an ancient power that is out to wreak vengeance?
2. Book: Little Maryam; Author: Hamid Baig; Publisher: Notion Press; Price: Rs 225; Pages: 285
While giving an acceptance speech for his Nobel Prize nomination, Dr. Saadiq Haider, a renowned gene therapist and professor at Stanford University, receives a phone call that changes his life. Abandoning his duties and responsibilities, Haider hurriedly boards a flight bound for India, embarking on a journey that spans thousands of miles and pulls him back into a past Saadiq thought long-buried.
Seated next to him on the flight, Anne Miller — an intrepid journalist with a nose for headline news — senses the reclusive genius has a story to tell. During the flight, Miller manages to break through Haider’s hard exterior and listens, rapt, as he unfurls a tale fraught with love and heartbreak. His story transports Miller back in time to a small, sleepy town nestled in the mountains of northern India, where Haider spent his childhood.
Through Haider, Miller meets Maryam and witnesses the friendship between Maryam and Haider mature into an intense love; a love that is tested when tragedy strikes and the lovers are separated. Try as they might, their devotion is no match against the workings of fate, and the tighter Haider and Maryam cling to one another, the faster they slip apart.
Now, after two decades of trying to forget his past with alcohol and drug abuse, Haider tells Miller that fate has acted again; Maryam is the hospital, her condition critical. When their plane lands in India, the newfound friends part ways and while Haider rushes to Maryam’s side, Miller returns to her life, grateful to have met the enigmatic man.
Months later, Miller learns that after wrenching Maryam from the indomitable grip of death, Haider took her back to America, where they finally married. But, her assumption that the greatest love story she had ever known would end happily is shattered when Miller receives devastating news.
3. Book: The Fever; Author: Sonia Shah; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs 449; Pages: 309
In recent years, malaria has emerged as a cause of worry for prominent philanthropists. Bill Gates, Bono and Laura Bush are only a few of the personalities who have opened their pocketbooks in twhe hope of eradicating the scourge. How does a parasitic disease that we have known how to prevent for more than a century still infect 300 million people every year, killing nearly one million of them?
In “The Fever”, Sonia Shah, a journalist sets out to answer this question, delivering a timely, inquisitive chronicle of the illness and its influence on human lives. “The Fever” captures the curiously fascinating, devastating history of this long-standing thorn in the side of humanity.
4. Book: Restless Waters of the Ichhamati; Author: Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay; Translated by: Ramli Bhattacharya; Publisher: Rupa; Price: Rs 495; Pages: 370
“Restless Waters of the Ichhamati” is a celebration of flora and fauna, particularly of the profusion of commonly found plant life that flourishes in most regions of Bengal. The gaze of a slow-moving attentive river-farer brings into view glimpses of vibrant plant life, traces of human habitation and changes of sky and water in the course of seasons.
These are signs, evoking the flow of time in which generations unknown have lived and those unborn will live along the Ichhamati’s banks as it wends its way through Jessore district towards the Bay of Bengal. Born of this tension between the ephemeral and the forever, the novel’s own riverine course dispenses with chapter breaks a writer’s decision that the translation follows.