Mythological Thriller and a Sci Fi Journey: Warrior by Olivier Lafont
Mythology is a very tricky subject that can ignite passions like nothing else especially in a country like India. Warrior the first novel by Olivier Lafont takes the mythological novel to the next level and keeps you in a world that makes you travel not just around India but to many dimensions that most of us never even have thought about. All this while the author handles the subject with clinical precision and poetic passion without falling in the grand canyon that divides faith and science and comes up with a plausible story for the fans of Mythological fiction that tangos with sci-fi while keeping you on edge.
For a first time Author Olivier Lafont is a pleasant surprise and he has a mastery over creating his characters, situations and even the worlds that he takes us.
The story though fairly simple works at many complex levels and across centuries with the key characters remaining the same. For the Warrior is the story of the last of the demigods on earth who though living on earth among the mortals have powers beyond imagination, so much that they are forced to abide to a covenant to never misuse or publicly display their powers lest the acceptable norms of humans be in jeopardy.
Saam is a reluctant hero, happily minding his own business mending watches and settled with his girlfriend Maya who is oblivious to his superhero kind of powers. Soon the reader and Saam are drawn into the end of days as the world is about to be wiped out as if it is a hard disk format, and the cosmic powers lose balance leading to events that vary from blood rain to a total havoc on global weather and loss of mental balance by most mortals.
Soon enough Saam is forced to a join the quest to save the world, only challenge is he is not even sure if he can do it or where to begin. In comes Ara his long-lost brother who has a trick or two up his sleeve. The two join hands and start the journey together and we learn about the powers that Saam has, the mythological and scientific reasons behind what is happening and various interpretations of the same.
The success of Olivier Lafont lies in his ability to create such strong visuals through words that you actually feel that you are watching the scenes on a 70 mm screen. May be his proficiency as a script writer came in handy, or may be all the practice he has had since he was a boy trying to write a novel worked in his favor.
As the story moves forward Saam and troupe takes us across a journey through India, while we see the unimaginable horror and destruction that the end of days has brought in wholesale.
The characters develop along with the fast pace of story and every chapter reveals a new aspect and dark past of Saam who has not always been a hero but had his own way of handling demons that he need to slay every now and then, as they keep rising from his past.
While Saam is portrayed a man of strength and insurmountable will, but few words it is Ara who is the one who brings some spice to the story with his broody past, his mysterious ways and witty one liners.
Then we have the less powerful group of immortals who are known as Peerless who are only as good as our spineless politicians confused and unable to decide which side they support. The Peerless are unable to decide to join Saam in his quest to stop the end of the days or join The Enemy in hope of getting some breadcrumbs in the new order that will be established one the dance of destruction is over and a new universe is created. A sublte way to comment on our politicians who are always looking to remain in power no matter what the consequences.
But Saam has no such confusion in his mind he has a simple goal to stop the end of days even if it means to confront his own father – Shiva the destroyer. All Saam needs to do is find the enemy and destroy him, only he does not know who the enemy is and where to find him. So it is a wild goose chase and he is traveling across India as cities after city are sucked by death and souls are trapped between the worlds as the cosmic cycle and balance between life and death is broken.
Mind you the book is not for the faint hearted or those who are looking for simple story, but is a wonderful read for those who prefer a cocktail of Mythology and Science fiction. So go ahead and read Warrior for a fresh look at Hindu mythology and some of the mystical races that you read as a child in Amar Chitra Katha like the Rakshas, Nagas and other immortals whom you thought were only a figment of imagination. And be careful your next door neighbor/ boss or even girlfriend may be hiding a big secret from you and you may discover a whole new world just like you find in the Warrior by Olivier Lafont
Some quick facts about Warrior
Author: Olivier Lafont, a French author or mixed origin who is also a well-known actor and model.
Publisher: Penguin India
Published Price: 399 ( check Amazon for latest price )
Available at all leading book stores and Amazon and Flipkart
Warrior is shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia prize.
BTW if you are wondering where you have seen Olivier Lafont in movie is then go watch 3 Idiots once again or check his Facebook page.
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So many remix versions of mythology coming these days. Going by your review, this looks like a good one. But doesn’t the cover look too Westernised ? Saam was not a Caucasian for sure 😀
True Saam was not Caucasian :), but a lot of North Indians specially in Punjab and parts of Himachal, Kashmir and Uttaranchal, and even Haryana do look like that 🙂 Reinterpretation of Mythology helps us connect with our root and gives a fresh perspective to the stories…
Crisp review. But I will give it a miss as mythology is not really my genre.
Well it is as much as Sci Fi as it is Mythology
Sounds like a very interesting book.
Though it sounds interesting. But not my kind I believe.