Book Title: Andaman
Author: Ratnadip Acharya
Format: Paperback
Published By: Aksora Publications LLP
ISBN & Edition: 8194132878 & 1st
Genre: Historical Fiction
No.of pages: 441
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the book
What secrets have been hidden for more than a century on the walls of the dreaded Cellular Jail? 1912 CE: A priest found himself in the whirlwind of swadeshi movements that brought him finally to the infamous Cellular Jail, Port Blair. He witnessed the jail authority’s unbridled torture of the political prisoners. He hatched up a plan to escape from the prison and left some symbols on the walls of his cell that might help someone understand his story one day. 2004 CE: On Great Nicobar Island, a small boy survived the tsunami. The orphaned boy was named ‘Andaman’ and was prophesied to fulfil a noble task that only he could do. Years later, the wheels of events brought him to a cell in the Cellular Jail, where he was surprised to discover certain strange symbols on the walls that he had seen before. As his exploration started from the jail to the deepest jungle of Andaman, the home of the Jarawas, slowly, many deeply-buried secrets were uncovered, embracing Andaman in a century-old chain of events; a long saga of trust, betrayal, and retribution where he also had a role to play. But Andaman knew the entire story he would understand only if he could understand the secret of that strange-looking Swastika.

About the author
Ratnadip Acharya is the author of four successful novels, The Speaking Stone, and Your Love Makes Me Complete, Life is Always Aimless… Unless you love it and Paradise Lost & Regained. His historical thriller, The Speaking Stone, is a phenomenal success and loved by many readers across the country. He is a columnist for The Speaking Tree in The Times of India. He contributed many write-ups in different collections of Chicken Soup for the Soul. He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Sophia, and son, Akash.

Review Headline
Exciting, absorbing and captivating historical thriller!

What to expect
Expect an absolutely informative story rather than just fiction.
Expect a book that unravels unknown details about the Andaman cellular jail.
Expect a story that dates back to the pre-independence era. 
Expect a story that showcases many deep emotions connected with the time, land and history.
Expect a story introducing the readers to the Jarawa tribe and their lifestyle.
Expect a story that snaps between two timelines.

Who can read
The book is written in a universal language that can be understood by even beginner level readers and young readers. The story is written to induce the lost glory of historical India and patriotism into the readers. The riveting story will make the readers get hooked to the book.

My thoughts
Indian freedom struggle is one of the most iconic incidents in the world. There have been numerous books, plays, articles, movies etc. forms where the heroes of the freedom struggle have been talked about. Meanwhile, many other prominent people ate their own risk and power and fought against the feudal system of the British government. While this holds good for the stories inside the country, the famous cellular jail in the Andaman Islands is the backdrop in this book. 

I would like to share a few things that drew me closer to this book. Earlier this year, as a regular reader enrolled in a few reading challenges. One of the challenges was to read one book from every state in India. I took the list of states from the Indian government’s official website, and in the table, the first state was Andaman & Nicobar Islands. I had difficulty finding a book, probably a fiction book written by an Andaman native, and I met some prominent people from the state. But what surprised me was that the universe had listened to me, and the same day Ratnadip’s Andaman book was published. And the rest is history.

I also must admit I have taken almost 7 weeks to finish reading the book. But, the wait felt worth it. I recommend this book to every reader who loves historical fiction.

How is the narration
Author Ratnadip Acharya immensely worked hard in capturing the lives of political prisoners in the pre-independence time. The book talks about a story that is more than 100 years, and as mentioned, it oscillates in parallel between 1911 CE and 2004 CE. Interestingly, the story is narrated between the islands of Andaman, the land of Bengal and then the forests of Jarawa tribes. An engaging and exhaustive narration leaves a substantial impact on the readers. 

About the characters
This story has direct and indirect characters. While the main characters of Satish Chandra and Paritosh take the story forward, which I name as direct characters, The islands of Andaman, the cellular jail, the torture that the prisoners faced, the brutal jailor David Barclay and the people of the Jarawa tribe become the indirect characters. These indirect characters create an underlying depth and emotion of identity and torture. 

Writing Style
This is my third book by author Ratnadip. One common thing in his writing, apart from simple language, is a positive inclination towards life, quoting history in some way or the other. This reminds me of a Telugu Novelist who consistently links the story to the roots of an incident, place, people, and facts in his writing. Though fiction, the theme in historical fiction is thus retained. 

His writing skills are much higher in this book. The switch between two timelines holding the interest, excitement and emotion is quite challenging. Here, he has honed this! His writing shows his hard work and research in gathering the facts and placing them in the book.

Grammar & Vocabulary
A simple, straightforward, and easy language is used in the book. The vocabulary is quite familiar, and Indian readers will not face any difficulty. 

What did I like
1. The plot and the storyline.
2. The characters and their backstories
3. The historical facts are explained well.
4. Two parallel narratives are balanced well
5. The symbols and the details that Paritosh witnesses 
6. Paritosh’s journey back into history, unearthing the mystery

What could have been better
Though the book had a great story, the volume of the book was a concern. Crisp editing barring some typos, if it would have been taken care of.

Entertainment quotient
With a dose of history and mystery, the story is a readable one, thus entertaining in many aspects.

Pick it if
you like history-based books
you like stories that have parallel timelines with inter-connections


2 Comments Add yours

  1. I am extraordinarily affected beside your writing talents, Thanks for this nice share.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing web log and really fascinating stuff you bought here! I positively learned plenty from reading through a number of your earlier posts in addition and set to drop a discuss this one!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s