For long i have been wishing to read this book. Have been reading decent reviews about it and the theme being my favourite genre - cryptic thrillers that are factual based. Being a tamil book, with its already limited circulation, it was very difficult to get a copy of the book. While trying to buy this book, i saw first hand the challenges faced by regional language authors. No wonder we dont produce Jeffrey Archers and Sidney sheldons, despite having armies of writers who produce and are capable of producing much better novels. Thanks to a dear friend of mine who took pains to get the book for me when he visited a publisher forum. It was nice of him to remember my quest for the book (proof that, if you keep cribbing about it non stop people are bound to listen..hehehe ) Infact he was the one who introduced me to that novel. Now, over to the book review.
The author Sudhakar kasthuri, to me will soon be the Indian equivalent of Matthew Reilley or James Rollins. Hope he churns thrillers like 6174 as frequently as them. The basic premise of all the books by both Rollins and Reilley would be a fantastic legend which could be the ultimate weapon of destruction, chased by both good guys and bad guys. In the end good will triumph over evil and the dangerous item that they would risk their lives chasing would end up destroyed and made unavailable for anyone. In 6174, Sudhakar has taken a similar premise of the legendary Lemuria continent, with Kaprekar constant (6174), power of pyramids, lot of tamil poetry in Venpa style, cryptic clues in those poems that get solved in seconds by the lead pair ala Robert Langdon of Dan Brown's creation, supposedly extinct fishes of dinosaur era making a reappearance and loads and loads of physics. At one stage, it felt like reading advanced physics in tamil, the content being so difficult to follow. If not for tamil, i would've skipped over those pages in an English novel is a different story. I loved the portions involving the Kaprekar constant, how the author with his clever word play have made poems on the constant which when decrypted reveal the number and how the same number finds place in arrangement of the pyramids. Its not an easy job to pick up few facts and Ripley's believe it or not kind of situations and weave a story around it, whichever language it may be. The author deserves special kudos for attempting such a rarely or never been touched to my little knowledge, kind of a genre.
Few observations on the book would, there are way too many cross stories in the first 100 pages of it. Too many incidents happen and are chaotic to follow. Though every single one of them have been meticulously linked in the end, felt that probably some of them could've been spaced out. Another point to note was that, certain segments, probably flashback portions, begin in italics format and within a para or two become normal font as if it happens in current scenario. Since the characters appearing on both segments are same, it kind of confuses the timeline. Its a shame to raise this as a criticism, but some of the tamil words used to describe scientific details were literal bouncers and it pains me to accept that i could grasp the meaning only based on context. Good reason to go for a tamizh agarathi. Some of the characters like that old man who meets the lead pair before taking them to meet Sadagopan, the puppeteer who controls the entire show, hardly have a reason to be present. That character could've been avoided which would've reduced few pages. Also there is a needless travel from one place to another in the name of validating the lead pair for their capability. The villain, who makes the appearance almost at the last 50 pages of the novel was a huge disappointment. Finally, the epilogue touch of a spanish lady having 6174 as her DOB making an appearance leaves an incomplete loop rather than a twist in tale as its not clear whether the pyramids still exist somewhere else as well or is it a new beginning for Lemurians, who are never clearly explained. Are they still residing amidst humans is a question that remains unanswered. Probably it was a specific attempt made by the author to set this thought process may be.
Gils verdict: I finished the 400 book in two sittings under 5 hours. More than the speed of my reading, it was the breakneck pace at which the story moves that set the tempo. Would definitely recommend this book for thriller fans whose wait for such a book in tamil might begin to end starting with 6174. Eagerly waiting for the next release from the author. And hoping to see a wider circulation for such books in cross words and star marks show rooms.