Goodreads blurb: That cursed night at Nisarga had revealed the true reason behind his father’s sacrifice and his own dark past. Each revelation now draws Agni into the sublime world of secrets. With Vrish and Guru Sidak by his side, fighting the daggers from the past and winning over the opponents of the present, somewhere deep down, he knows that his journey has just begun.
The other scarred prince walks the ashes of his reality. Haunted by the glimpses of truth the same night, Yani had but one choice to survive. His unknowing steps, trapped in cruel games of ancient powers had led him to a truth, a truth which shall mould a good man in the clay of misfortune, hate and lust. Such is the world of Gaya and thus shall be the Rise of the Grey Prince the one torn between the darkness of evil and a lone ray of hope.
Taking off from where The Secrets of the Dark leaves us, Rise of the Grey Prince almost immediately picks up action with Agni, Vrish and Guru Sidak making their way out of Nisarga and trying to get across the sea to the Land of the Setting Sun, Agni’s homeland. Their journey is fraught with danger and they are relentlessly being pursued by the Nimit, a mysterious group which is tasked to ensure that Agni doesn’t succeed in his quest.
In parallel, Agni’s old friend, Prince Yani of Nisarga also begins to take charge of his own life after having lived under his father King Adhiratha’s shadow all his life so far. In fact some of the decisions and consequent steps he takes are nothing short of revolutionary and game changing in every sense of the term. This character comes into his own in this book and makes for a wonderful addition to the already stellar cast in the series so far. In fact, the ‘double gambit’ sequence (which I will not reveal any more of as it would end up being a spoiler) is wonderful testimony to the fact that Yani well and truly makes a mark for himself as far as the proceedings are concerned.
The only gripe I have with this book is that the proceedings in the Land of the Setting Sun are short-changed to a very large extent and the stories of Princess Lysandra and the Kingdom of Leu are barely even mentioned. Yes, while I understand that the action picked up a lot of steam and pace in the Land of the Rising Sun with Agni’s journey and Yani getting well and truly embroiled in the thick of the action, but the author could have probably kept the action moving on the other side as well, even at the cost of making the book a little bigger than it is. In fact, at the end of the book, one is left wondering what exactly is happening in the Land of the Setting Sun while all of this action is happening in the East.
The story itself is quite well structured and it is obvious that Arka Chakrabarti has done his homework quite well in terms of how he wanted to present this wonderful yarn of Gaya, its origins, and its current state of affairs. Wonderful usage of sleights of hand, palace intrigues, political skullduggery and good old fashioned chivalry and bravery ensure that the somewhat complicated plot doesn’t quite feel heavy for regular readers. For sure I will pick up the third and subsequent books in this series as this is something that cannot be left halfway through, the Saga of Agni has to continue and be read in its entirety.
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Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided to me as part of the Book Review Tour for the series of books conducted by b00k r3vi3ws, a book blogger whose work I immensely enjoy.