#BookReview : Sambhala: The Journey Begins (Sambhala Trilogy #1) by Shariful Hasan , Arindam Mukherjee (Translator)

In a small village somewhere in rural Bangladesh, an old man starts behaving in bizarre ways.
Rashed, an undergraduate in Dacca, comes under police suspicion: presumed guilty of murder.
A thousand year old book goes missing from a house in Shantinagar and a group of Satan worshipers are let loose by their leader to retrieve it.
Nikolas Carson, a world renowned archaeologist willingly steps in his kidnappers' car.

Who is this strange old man? Why was a boy-next-door like Shamim murdered? What is Nikolas Carson's interest in a legend that has no factual evidence? What is 'Sambhala'?

As the story unravels from France and Rome to India and Tibet, each of the characters cling on to their mission, unaware that their fates are mysteriously intertwined.

Nimue Says:  What intrigued me about the book was its name and the lovely designed cover. In case you are not already aware , Sambhala is supposedly the Buddhist Pure land , also referenced in old hindu texts as the birthplace of last Vishnu avataar Kalki. This trivia with the key on its cover , the book seemed to be a journey to reach this land of ultimate nirvana. But is it really possible for some one to undertake such a journey and attain such wisdom and spiritual power ? 

In another interpretation , writers emphasized on the concept of a hidden land inhabited by mystic monks who live and work for good of humanity. Imagine the knowledge these monks would have and the burden of the mistakes and mis judgments too !

The book traces not the journey in the book#1 , but more so the roots and footprints of the seeker and his interactions with various people who shape his choices and decisions over the years. In this regard , 
The setting and character development is immaculately done from the beginning to the(ir) end. there are no over the top action scenes thrown here and there and neither did I feel the disconnect in the visuals. 
Of all the characters that Shariful juggles with his able pen , the seemingly ageless old man is one of the most intriguing and charming character I have come to like among few other fantasy characters.

While Shariful deserves praise for the story , I liked the way Arindam has translated it in English. The language is easy and later part of the book is actually more fun reading , with some nice modern references added in the dialogues.

My only complaint from the author ( and translator) is that some chapters change too abruptly and jump a lot between locations. this makes it a little upsetting until you get a hang of it.

All in all , a really entertaining tale. Awaiting the sequel now.

My Rating : 4/5

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