Posted in Books

Book Review: The Himalayan Revelation, by Pankaj Misra

About the author:
Pankaj Misra is an engineer by education, and a technologist by profession. He loves to travel and explore new places. This book, his first novel, is inspired by the everlasting impressions that Leh and Hampi, two of those places he has visited, has left on him.

Cover and blurb:
The cover design is quite simple and shows the Hampi ruins. The blurb links the past and the present.

My thoughts on the book:
A historical thriller is a tough genre to read and to write, I feel, because it has to do justice to two quite opposite genres. When I think of history, all I can remember is dates and those long nights in school days that I spent trying to memorize them, or find a way to remember them. When I think of a thriller, I remember the books from Child, Reilly and Patterson, or Shatrujeet Nath more recently, that kept me awake because I was too excited, enthused to put it down. So how can I read history and still not put it down? To bring that thrill out of history is the challenge the author faces.

The Himalayan Revelation is a historical thriller. It is a fiction, but based on fact. The protagonists of the story are Gaurav, who is a techie between jobs, having resigned his old position to join the exciting prospects of a new firm and Natasha, who he must work with on his new job. The new firm, with Gaurav’s presentation, bags a project to recreate a historic site digitally, so visitors to that site can see both present state and past glory at the same time. The duo visit Hampi, and through their research find that Hampi and Leh (where Gaurav was vacationing) might be related. The research also unlocks secrets that may change their lives. I leave you to find out what they are.

What I liked in the book was the past and present are linked well. They are also presented well to the reader, clearly marked in time and place, so there is no confusion. Pankaj’s language is also quite easy to read, and understand, though at places, he has to go more depth to associate with the setting or the character. You have maps and images in the book too, which are quite simple and relate to the text before that. The research he has done on both places is easily noticeable, and he brings it to life in my mind just as easily. The twists and characters are also quite nice. He even brings in a little humor with the character of Dorjay, and the manner of his English dialogues. Even the monks’ characters I liked.

The flipside, for me, is that I felt the book was long. The pace varies over the stretch of the novel, sometimes going fast, and sometimes very slow. Maybe it’s a sign of modern times, I don’t know, but I didn’t feel a Tibetan monk would own a cell phone. There are places I felt I saw a typo or two, but that went along with the reading. I didn’t feel it necessary to earmark or anything. It’s not a light read by any stretch of the imagination.

It’s more historical than thriller I feel. But still it is very enjoyable. It’s not a one-time read either. Good debut. I’d price it a little lower though.

Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book Details:
Title: The Himalayan Revelation
Author: Pankaj Misra
ISBN: 9789383271382
Genre: Historical Thriller
Publishers: Power Publishers
Price: INR. 425

This is an author-requested review, given for a review copy of the book, but no other payment.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.

(14th Nov, 2013)


Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.