The second book in Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy series ended with the Shiva discovering that Brahaspati was very much alive in Panchavati. The third and final book in the Trilogy – The Oath of The Vayuputras – is about the battle of good over evil.
Once Shiva overcomes his shock and surprise, Brahaspati explains to him that the root cause of all the problems is Somras. The depletion of water in the river Saraswati, the dumping of toxic wastes in the river Brahmaputra resulting in the Branga plague, the deformities in the Nagas are all attributed to prolonged production and consumption of the Somras. Shiva then meets the Vasudevs and discovers that the Vayuputra Council, an ancient tribe with roots going back to the first Mahadev – Lord Rudra, was entrusted with the responsibility of identifying and training the next Neelkanth whenever the need to defeat evil arose. He also finds out that his Uncle who was a Vayuputra, was instrumental in grooming him as the Neelkanth.
Since Somras was the brainchild of the Meluhans, Shiva declares war on Meluha. This creates moral and emotional conflicts in Shiva’s team. Sati stands by her husband while Parvateshwar, though accepting Shiva as his God, chooses to fight for Meluha out of loyalty for his homeland and is joined by Anandamayi.
What ensues after extensive plotting and planning is a complex and tactical war against Meluha and its suspected allies which is countered by a very competent and experienced Parvateshwar. Shiva commandeers the main army and is aided by Ganesh and Karthik who attack Ayodhya. Parvateshwar along with his large Meluhan force attacks Sati’s army and emerges victorious. Following this defeat Shiva leaves for Pariha to acquire the deadly Bramhastra from the Vayuputras which would give him the power to negotiate peace with Meluha. The Vayuputras grant him the Pashupathiastra instead. Parvateshwar uses diversionary tactics and pretends to attack Panchavati which results in Kali rushing to Panchavati and realizing that she was tricked.
In the midst of all these battles, Daksha hatches a plan to assassinate Shiva with the help of hired Egyptian assassins and invites Shiva for a so called “peace conference”. Sati attends the peace conference in Shiva’s absence and is attacked by the assassins and unfortunately meets with a bloody end. Shiva returns to Devagiri to find his brutally assassinated wife. Heartbroken and enraged, he uses the deadly weapon given by the Vayuputras to destroy all of Devagiri and with it the Somras thereby triumphing over evil. Shiva then retires to Mount Kailash along with his sons.
The book is packed with a lot of action. There are many a twists and turns in the plot and the pace is pretty fast moving. In addition to action, Amish has tried to portray the humanness of the characters by bringing out their emotional conflicts and pain.
While Amish’s intentions and efforts are commendable there still are some glaring shortcomings which prevent it from being a good book. My major bugbear continues to be the language – it lacks the flow and polish of a skilled writer and sounds amateurish. Using big words does not necessarily mean excellent writing skills, what is important is that they be used in the right context.
The ending unfortunately does not do justice as well. Given the very strong storyline and larger than life characters Amish had, he could have orchestrated a grand finale but ends up with an extremely gory and emotionally exhausting finish. I really didn’t see the need to bring in “Egyptian” assassins and the detailed description of Sati’s brutal killing left me cringing. I did not understand the conflicting apparitions of Sati which appear to Ganesh and Karthik either.
The hero in this book for me was Sati, not Shiva. She embodied femininity, intelligence, was a great daughter, sister, wife, mother and a greater warrior with immense strength, valour and courage. The Vayuputras are reduced to an insignificant presence in the entire series – why name the book as “The Oath of the Vayuputras”? They hardly take up a few pages of the book!
Reading has been my passion since I was a kid and a good book irrespective of its genre always leaves me feeling good. My apologies to all Amish fans, it took me sometime to get over this book – it was a big let down. I enjoyed The Immortals of Meluha, I found The Secret of the Nagas intriguing though not great but I really don’t have the patience or endurance to pick up this book again. To deal with Hindu Gods and mythological characters, their human emotions, frequent science lessons straight from textbooks, contemporary language including swearwords used in a timeline which is possibly thousands of years old and the “over the board” gory description of Sati’s murder and her mutilated body is too much for me to handle a second time around.