Anand Arungundram Mohan’s The World’s Oldest, Most Powerful Secret Society is like a fantasy joy ride that has bumps, pauses, halts, flights, jumps and falls… It has too little to do with the mundane that we have around us in our lives. It will let you soar high in the world of imagination that the novelist has created. I will begin with the plot.
If I try to recreate how it all begins for the readers, it’d be something like this. Gopal is lying in a crumpled position on the floor, motionless. Leela couldn’t bear the shock and swoons. She is taken to the hospital. And then, the story rolls! An old man enters in Leela’s life, as an angle! He tells her a secret way to get Gopal back to life. She gets excited and a gleaming ray of hope embraces her in its warmth. With faith in herself, adamant Leela, along with her seven friends, is all set for a strange mission, of making impossible possible.
The World’s Oldest, Most Powerful Secret Society, written by Anand Arungundram Mohan, is a rare book which enraptured me completely and I was compelled to finish it at one shot. It is compelling and you may find the narrative hiatus at times, to be frank. However, that is not so overpowering that you can disconnect with the movement that the story generates. So, the narrative part is not very much affecting your reading experience here as the most powerful of the pillars that hold the novel are certainly the storyline and author’s imagination here. The book gives an outright pleasure from beginning to the end. Anand Mohan offers readers the precious gift of a richly imagined and succulent new world–but uniquely so, for this is the world of The Nifty Nine: a group of nine teenagers, and their strange, passionate, and adventurous mission. However, the novelist alters the plot by introducing past events and how those events affect the protagonists. That might create further interest if I reveal that the novel begins on the battlefield and the great Ashoka of India is fighting the Kalinga war… ringing belles? You got to enjoy this one! Well, English literature has always been open to ideas and imagination and, even both together! Anand, it seems, has done that!
The central motif of the plot may be bringing a friend back from the dead with the help of the Book of Power. About the book, ordered to be written under the watch of nine intellectual men of letters, ordered by Ashoka, the author has created quite wonderful ideas. Leela’s meeting with the old man and the subsequent revelation about the Book of Power brings fascinating twists and turns in the story. From there onwards, the search begins – to find and get the Book of Power. Will Leela and her friends succeed in getting the Book of Power? What all challenges will they have to confront? Will Gopal be back? Will the broken link of the Nifty Nine gang be added again? If Indian authors are good at many things, creating suspense is certainly one of them!
Extending the area of my thinking, I can see what Anand has tried to do here. He has tried not only to target the short-term goal but also to create a surface for himself to further the journey of these 9 friends further. Yes, this novel is a part of the series of novels, The Journey Series. Anand has tried to reflect upon a world, his imagined world, that has magical powers or scientific discoveries of very advanced level – flying chariots, travelling back and forth in time, vanishing, flying men and so on… the powers are unlimited and so are their usage. So, the first instalment in the series is worthy enough… wonderful work! However, there are certain limitations as well. There are the occasions in the novel when you find that the discourse could have been elevated so that it could garner all the strength that the theme and the vision add to the novel. Moreover, there are occasions where I feel the novelist couldn’t do complete justice to the characters. For example, you will only know or read more and more about three or four characters… that might be a case to make that the next novels in the series will reveal those who have been left out… Well, it does not take out anything from the novel though.
The plot of Arungundram Anand Mohan’s book is a splendid piece of jocose with some interesting depth, magical imagination sequences, and pleasing deduction, and an excellent historically imagined story. This is a book which exultantly succeeds in its objectives of charming and delighting. The author’s tone is witty and enthusiastic and offers something quite different in this genre. The story is cleverly structured, well-paced, beautifully written.
I wish you enjoy this journey. I hope you relish this book as much as I had in writing it. You can get a copy of this fictional piece from Amazon India:
Review by Nidhi Parikh for Active Readers Book Blog
The World's Oldest, Most Powerful Secret Society
- Active Reader's Score
The World’s Oldest, Most Powerful Secret Society is a novel written by Anand Arungundram Mohan who has created a world of imagination by taking events from the past and linking it wonderfully to the present. Get ready for the magic to happen!