‘The Krishna Key’ has all the ingredients that a thriller needs – a direct connection with history and/or mythology, a James Bond -like leading lady and vamp, a serial killer, and a plot that more often than not, is racing to a climax; and yet, I had a feeling of unfinished business after I completed the book. I think Ashwin Sanghi painted himself into a corner as soon as he decided what the ‘key’ would be because it would be difficult to end it any other way.
The entire plot is built around Krishna’s legacy and its path through the ages. So chapters begin with Krishna’s own story and at many times, one can sense a certain similarity in events, though the characters are completely different. There is a fair amount of vagabonding in space – Kailash, Dwarka and so on and time – Vedic to Mughal to the modern era.
In terms of research, this would be on par with The Rozabal Line, if not more. In fact, it is difficult to say where fact ends and fiction begins unless one goes through all the references and acknowledgements provided. Some of them are really profound, but there are others which appear stretched and it’s almost as if these were the cracks that were beginning to show on the plot. If I had to compare to the author’s earlier works, I think both of them were a lot tighter in terms of narrative. That does not however mean that this one is not racy enough, it’s just that at a few points, I felt there was a fair amount of digression and force fit.
If you’re a conspiracy theorist or someone who gets a high on ciphers and clues, this is highly recommended. For others, this is just an interesting read that offers some intriguing possibilities and alternate explanations.