Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda

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Jenn reviews the first book in Mala Mukherjee's historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda - India history, diverse fiction, fantasy fiction, historical mysteries
Jenn reviews the first book in Mala Mukherjee’s historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda

About the Book

Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda; Mala Mukharjee
Adult; Historical Fantasy; 363 pages

BookRix March 12, 2019

A historical fantasy set in the backdrop of Nalanda and the end of Gupta Empire depicts the horror of Hun invasion, and power struggle between smaller kingdoms in an alternate universe bounded by magical reality. During the political turmoil, a prince vouchsafed to save Magadha from foreign invasion with the help of Nalanda’s intellectual teachers and their secret knowledge of Celestial Weapons. However, palace intrigues compelled him to renounce his claim to the throne and he embraced the life of austerity for a greater cause. Unaware of the baffling power of his enemies, the young prince entrapped in the political rivalry of Chandraketugarh and found love in an unexpected way. His journey to Nalanda unfolded many secrets of the ancient university that changed his destiny forever. Under the guidance of his mentor, eminent alchemist Budhaditya he overcame all odds and reached his goal; but just before the final battle, he faced the dilemma of choosing duty over love. 

This is the first part of a Trilogy. 

This story is purely fictional, based on imagination, not on historical facts and figures. Any similarities of events or characters, in reality, is purely coincidental and not made to insult any individual or group. 

Jenn’s Review

I picked this book up to read a quick sample, after the author, Mala Mukherjee, contacted me about a possible review. After reading the introduction, I chose to add this story to my reading list for two reasons: first, it isn’t written from a Western perspective and second, the author is upfront and honest about where the story came from. If you’re looking for a historically accurate tale, this probably isn’t for you, however, as Miss Mukherjee explains in the book’s first pages, she’s spun a fanciful tale around an archaeological mystery.

Welcome to Nalanda, and the Indus subcontinent in the age of the Huns. Nalanda is a center of learning, removed from politics, though it will not remain untouched by the coming war that looms over the land.

Prakhashaditya is a disgraced prince who renounced his claim on the throne to retire to a life of learning, if only for enough years to secure the knowledge of elemental weapons that might stand against the Huns’ mystical arsenal.

His teacher sends him to one of the department heads of Nalanda, to specifically study alchemy, and everything goes wrong when Prakhashaditya stumbles into a confusing situation between local villagers and a merchant caravan.

Confusion ensues, as court intrigues tangle and twist around each other. Hidden plots and deceptions add up, war breaks out, and survivors emerge with the truth of their identities – few of the major players know the whole truth and even fewer know who they truly are.

This was a long read, and in the first half, I frequently found myself out of the plot and lost in long descriptions of settings and people. Miss Mukherjee has done a thorough job of world-building and character creation. However, at several points in the book, I nearly gave up, as the description frequently engulfed the story. Eventually, the author does get out of her own way, and the story flows well – leaving me glad I didn’t surrender.

As a word of caution, this book is not written by a native English speaker (I am uncertain if the book was translated or if the author wrote this in English herself), and this shows up in virtually every paragraph. At times, what the author intends to say is unclear, however, I reached a place where it simply became a facet of the narrative.

Under the faults, this is a thrilling story, with unexpected plot twists, mysteries, intrigue, and danger. Definitely worth the effort to read.

Jenn reviews the first book in Mala Mukherjee's historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda - India history, diverse fiction, fantasy fiction, historical mysteries
Jenn reviews the first book in Mala Mukherjee’s historical fantasy series, Chronicle of Lost Empire: Secrets of Nalanda

Buy the Book

This book is available on Kindle here.

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