Oswald Pereira is the author of the widely acclaimed crime thriller ‘The Newsroom Mafia’. ‘Revenge of the Naked Princess’ is his second book. This time he has delved into the history of how Portuguese were involved in the forced conversions of Hindus to Christians. The topic sounds quite unique and interesting. Does the book work? Let’s check it out.
The blurb goes like this –
On a hot, humid morning in May 1545, a joint conversion brigade of the Portugese King and the Pope set out to spread Christ’s message of love and compassion, but they leave behind a deathly trail of murder and mayhem. Armed with a monstrous cannon and scores of firearms, the brigade raids Princess Darshana Kamya Kathodi’s palace in Tana carrying for her and her people the King’s inviolable conversion order… sealed by the Pope’s promise of a new heaven.
The beautiful, 18 year old tribal princess fights back with her ace archers’ poison arrows. Revenge of the Naked Princess shows how brutal forced conversions can blur the line between religion and carnage.
This historical page turner by veteran journalist-turned-novelist Oswald Pereira comes after the success of his widely – acclaimed, best-selling thriller ‘The Newsroom Mafia’.
The title and the cover page of the book look quite exciting. The word ‘revenge’ in the title makes you ready for an interesting revenge saga. The rare colour combination of red and black on the cover page may turn off certain readers. But more importantly, it portrays the dark theme of the book quite amazingly. The font style and presentation of the content inside is quite well done.
The concept of this one is fantastic to say the least. The story moves at a brisk pace throughout. There are so many twists and turns that the reader is totally taken into the world where these conversions are happening. There are no needless subplots to confuse the readers.
Oswald says that he heard this story as a 6 year old from his grandmother. The way he has portrayed it you would believe that he was really there when it all happened. A lot of research has gone into how the Portuguese came to India, spread their religion and also began such conversions. There is history and also a bit of supernatural and fantasy involved. Oswald has beautifully mixed the two to make a deadly cocktail which keeps the reader interested. He has efficiently portrayed the torture, the trouble, the barbarism which the Portuguese make the Hindus go through with great detail. But the highest point of the book is the unusual climax when the Princess comes back to take her share of revenge.
There is only one downside I could find in the book. Though barbarism and torture form an important crux of the story, for some people it may be a bit too grotesque and graphic to bear. After a certain point of time, it gets a bit repetitive.
All the characters are developed really well and there are few of them which stand out. The way Bishop Fransisco Pascal turns from a priest to a monster who feels that he’s performing God’s duty stands out quite amazingly. Joseph or Govind Laxman Prabhu can do anything and everything just for simple monetary gains. While Brigadier Antonio de Braganca is in the urgency to earn a promotion and is ready to stoop to any level for that.
All in all, an awesome historical thriller. Go for it!
Rating – 4/5