Do you enjoy books based on mythological stories? Do you love reading about whole new fantasy worlds? If the answer to those questions was yes, then you will enjoy Satyam Srivastava’s latest release, ‘The Wielder of the Trishul’ published by Leadstart, as it is a spellbinding blend of the two. The novel is based on a Hindu legend from the Rig Veda but the events play out in a parallel world of Dhruva-Lok. Satyam’s novel is the first in a trilogy of books known as the Deva-Asura Katha. The series is a fictional retelling of the battle between two great forces — Indra, the king of gods, and Vritra, a mighty Asura. As the first in the trilogy, ‘The Wielder of the Trishul’ introduces the reader to the fascinating planet of Dhruva-Lok, where three prominent characters race to wield Lord Shiva’s Trishul.
The winding plot of ‘The Wielder of the Trishul’ is so captivating, it’s no wonder that film director Nitesh Tiwari hinted at making a movie adaptation someday. The acclaimed Bollywood personality made this indication when he launched the book in October 2021 for the author, who is his fellow IIT alumni. In the recent wave of retellings and adaptations; Satyam Srivastava’s novel stands out as a unique blend of mythology and fiction. His writing is fast-paced and packed with twists and turns that will keep you turning pages. But the essence of the book — and what makes it such a good story — is its focus on human values and morals.
‘The Wielder of the Trishul’ manages to focus on ethics without being preachy. Where other such stories might turn into classroom lectures, this novel uses its characters to portray moral dilemmas through action-packed events. The three characters racing to get their hands on the powerful Trishul come from three very different walks of life. One faces the heavy burden of a father’s expectations while another faces the barriers of class with every step he takes. Each one’s journey is a battleground for questions of morality.
A prime example is the character of Vishamadeva. A character who has stuck to his duty all his life, Vishamadeva finds himself torn in two when his oath comes in direct conflict with dharma. He must make a terrible choice — either break his oath and lose his honor or engage in adharma and let injustice reign. Another instance is the journey of the Asura Vritra himself. He starts with a moral code stronger than the toughest steel. He stands against killing and works to build a peaceful existence. And here Satyam shows how the strongest of wills can be bent to the power of circumstance. Because the events of the novel inevitably draw Vritra towards breaking his own rules. As the pages turn one can see the slow and steady change in Vritra’s being.
‘The Wielder of the Trishul’ really stretches its bounds with the introduction of Madhav — a character who is meant to be an avatar of Lord Vishnu. It cannot be easy to turn a God into a person, made of flesh and blood, on the written page. And yet, Satyam has managed to create a character who encompasses the familiar traits of God into a human being. Madhav is both ethereal and relatable. His thought processes are often shrouded in mystery but his depth of character is clearly visible in the book. The deft writing crafts Madhav as a three-dimensional person, which is a feat worth talking about. This is why when he provides some of the novel’s wisest words, you believe it.
Many characters on Dhruva Lok find themselves faced with difficult situations. Through them, Satyam Srivastava makes an interesting distinction between what is right for a person as opposed to what is right for the world. He highlights contradictory ideas. Like how two rights can often conflict with each other. Or how violence can sometimes be seen as the path to righteousness and justice. More than anything, the events shed light on the universal truth of what it means to be human. They prompt the reader to ask themselves what is more important — one’s individual honor as a person or our collective honor as humanity?
And all of it is done through the fascinating paths of characters. He covers a wide range of topics, from greed to revenge and love to honor. In the end, these musings on morality form the heart of the novel through the lifelike setting of the world, the sharp descriptions, and the sharper dialogues. Wit and magic come together and paint a mesmerizing picture in the novel, with an underlying lesson in every hue.
When asked why he put so much attention on ethics, Satyam said that ethics have always been deep-rooted in mythological stories. Growing up with the tales of the Mahabharata and Ramayana himself, the author is very familiar with how mythology can express ideas of right and wrong. He considers it a key role that the stories play in people’s lives. Considering how many of us grow up with mythological tales, it is crucial to appreciate how these stories — often told at bedtime and read for fun — can influence beliefs that last for a lifetime. Satyam’s decision to put a spotlight on culture and values is a bold one. After all, it’s tricky terrain to cover in an era where every piece of work is scrutinized on the internet. But through insightful descriptions and simple but profound dialogues, he manages to bring the right ideas to the fore.