20 Mar The Steradian Trail by M.N Krish: A book review
Among my recent reads, “The Steradian Trail” by M. N. Krish caught my particular attention. Authored as Book #0 in a series entitled The Infinity Cycle, this thriller can be considered a fair endeavour in efficiently combining the elements of a mystery and surprise.
This novel is essentially a fast-paced narrative set in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The lead character is an American professor, Dr Joshua Ezekiel, who arrives in Chennai for a conference, to present his algorithm on the ‘Shortest Path problem’. We are also introduced to Dr Lakshman Raman, friend of Joshua’s and a distinguished professor of mathematics himself. An intriguing prologue sets the ball rolling – a scientist, Jeffrey Williams is murdered and just before his death, he mentions Joshua’s name. Ordered not to leave India for fear of attempt at his life, Joshua seeks Lakshman’s help to get to the root of what actually was happening.
An unwary Joshua and Lakshman find themselves in the face of a mystery that needs urgent solving. With Lakshman’s brilliant student Divya to come to aid, they tread into a trail of clues that lead to the home of the great Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. The search does not end there: astonishing as it may seem, the two friends realise that ideas from ancient Hindu religious scriptures have a vital role to play in this intricately woven web of mystery. A frantic chase ensues, with attempts being made to take their lives. The trail eventually leads to a major scandal involving the murderers of Williams that is ultimately made right, thanks to Joshua and Lakshman.
Author M.N.Krish tries to incorporate the essential ingredients of a thriller and a murder mystery. The author endeavours to add flavour to the narrative with the help of his lucid prose. The text is such that the reader would not put the book down easily. It tries to blend in mathematics and religion: seemingly unrelated elements that apparently have little in common. Although does not quite live up to sky-high standards in the arena of thriller-writing already set by Dan Brown, this book is quite a page-turner.
My background of the medical sciences at times forced me to lose track at times: the mathematical jargon coupled with its extensive incorporation in the investment processes made it hard for me to grasp some of the points the author was trying to emphasise upon – but only rarely. My complaint would be that perhaps the author’s treatment of Ramanujan’s life, which just falls short of fair; I would have appreciated clever infusion of snippets from the story of his life. What’s good in this tale is that it keeps the reader glued. The mystery intensifies with time, and it keeps the narrative going. The author doesn’t miss subtle details: he has cleverly tried to offer a view of how the mind works, be it that of a cab driver or a middle-class family.
Personally, I am an avid fan of thrillers, and a recently concluded trip to Chennai only made this reading experience even better. A page-turner in its own right, I would say that “The Steradian Trail” is a decent attempt in the genre of mystery and thriller writing, and is at a class above most Indian writers at present.
Price: Rs. 295