Mumbai, Maharashtra, India: A secret Brotherhood of Indian revolutionaries declares war on the East India Company, a.k.a John Company. The year is 1856.
The prologue of The Vedic Warriors of 1857 takes the reader into the dense forests of Central India where native tribes valiantly fight the colonial army. Right from the word go, author Nikita Khanna Pani transports the reader into 19th century pre-independence India.
From the rustic and gritty world of a secret brotherhood – nicknamed the ‘Vedic Warriors’ by the British – to the opulent world of Rajas and Maharajas; the canvas is expansive and the writing detailed. The intricacy of every visual reflects the depth of research to the discerning mind. The author goes on to build the universe of the story, revealing the characters slowly and weaving them seamlessly into the plot. Mythology is used cleverly with the Vajra being the symbol of the secret brotherhood. As explained by the author, it is the divine weapon used by Lord Indra to annihilate evil.
The Vedic Warriors of 1857 pays homage to the heroes of the First War of Independence; some known, some relatively unknown. They have been integrated into the fictitious world of the Vedic Warriors who aspire to win India her freedom. One would commonly presume that the story is about the Indian mutiny but that is not the case. While the mutiny is integrated into the story, the actual plot is completely fictional.
The book has three vivid points of view reflecting the three important stakeholders of the story. A greed-driven royalty is represented by princess Indraini, a surprisingly complex character. The Vedic Warriors or the revolutionaries represent unadulterated nationalism. They are the force that drives the story forward. And the third stakeholder is the corrupt and cruel colonial power, who are the antagonists of the story. The book deep dives into an era that most of us know little about.
The author takes readers on a journey of thrill and discovery as the plot progresses and the stakes rise higher. Very often, the reader finds themself with a lump in the throat as Nikita Khanna Pani conjures the pain of our colonial past.
At the heart of the saga is a poignant love story. However, the author has not let it overshadow the main plot of the book.
‘The Vedic Warrior of 1857’ makes for an engaging read. The author compels to get absorbed into the world created by her and catapults into the middle of a tumultuous time in India’s history. The expert storytelling is complimented by authentic visual descriptions.
All in all, author Nikita Khanna Pani’s first novel leaves a deep impact on the reader, which is felt for days to follow. The book has been launched worldwide and is available on Amazon, Flipkart, Kindle and other portals.