Saurav Mohapatra in his introduction to the book, beautifully sums up its allure. “I had the good fortune of reading a novel (Chander Pahar) translation into Oriya from its original and it blew me away!”
At first, he thought that the author must have widely travelled the length and breadth of Africa, to have so vividly described it. And was shocked to know that he that he had never set foot in Africa, painstakingly gathering the information from extensive readings at the Calcutta Library. And yet, he managed to craft a narrative so rich and true, using just research, diligence and a dollop of imagination.
Shankar always had the wanderlust and spent hours looking at maps of the world, always feeling the pull of what was out there. On completion of his studies however, instead of a life of adventure that he had dreamed of for himself, he was urged by his family to get a brain-numbing, clerical job. And now, the only excitement he enjoyed was in his recurring dreams of adventure at night.
One day, however, a letter from long-lost family member from Mombasa, Africa, turned the course of his life forever. Highly excited, he left the Indian shores for a life of adventure, little knowing the challenges and dangers that lay in store for him.
The book is a brilliant blend of survival and adventure, featuring volcanic eruptions, wild animals, deadly serpents, mythical monsters and more, as Shankar and his friend, Alvarez, armed mainly with their resourcefulness and strong survival instincts, scour the dense jungles in search of the fabled diamond mines of Richtersveld.
The illustrations aptly reflect the dark continent and the dangers that lurk all around, setting the tone for the story.
A compelling read!