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Fairies, history, romance race for space on bookshelf

New Delhi: The weekend pile of books is a twisted maze of fairytales, history and romance. Chill out with one this week.

1. Book: ‘The First Spring: The Golden Age of India’; Written by Abraham Eraly; Published by Penguin Books India; Price: Rs.1,299

The history of classical India is a huge and complex maze with many snares to entrap the explorer. The writer unfolds a profoundly illuminating panorama of an age that flowered luxuriantly before its inevitable decay.

The vast landscape of Eraly’s narrative covers more than a thousand years, from the first millennium BCE, when India was a prosperous and marvellously creative civilization, making many seminal contributions in multifarious fields of culture.

2. Book: ‘Soulmates’; Written by Kanchana Ugbabe; Published by Penguin Books India; Price: Rs.199

The stories are recaps by outsiders and insiders in a country where Indians are clubbed under the head- `diaspora`. The sentiments derived from the experiences of both an insider and an outsider, the intricate stories of this anthology chart journeys of love, friendship, despair, daily negotiations and strategies for survival while exploring the physical and spiritual aspects of being transplanted to a foreign country, of living with fluid roots.

Yoking two cultures, the Indian and the Nigerian, they take us into the sphere of symbols and nuances of speech, into a world fraught with seams, viscerally familiar, yet fascinating in its differences.

3. Book: ‘In the Shadow of Legends’; Written by Sujata Sankranti; Published by Rupa & Co; Price: Rs.195

Kattuvalli, a sleepy, peace-loving small town, nestled in coastal Kerala wakes up to a gruesome murder in which all the male members of the Shastri clan have been axed to death. The book is a disquieting saga of a family, in particular the women, sucked into the vortex of a ruthless ideological warfare spanning two nations, India and the erstwhile Soviet Union.

Through Swati, the novel bears witness to a blazing history. Scarred by the brutal family legacy, Swati flees to Russia, to Misha, the breakaway son of Russian intellectuals.

4. Book: ‘13 Curses’; Written by Michelle Harrison; Published by Little Brown; Price: USD 99.9 (Rs.443)

The ‘13 Treasures’ - the much loved children`s book- has become the ‘13 Curses’. When fairies stole her brother, Red vowed to get him back. Trapped in the fairy realm, she begs to be seen before the fairy court where she strikes a bargain: her brother in exchange for all 13 charms from Tanya`s bracelet.

Back at Elvesden Manor, Red, Tanya, and Fabian begin a desperate hunt, but as they soon find out, the fairies have done more than hiding the charms; they have enchanted them with twisted qualities of the 13 treasures they represent. And the longer the charms are missing, the more dangerous they become. Can Red, Tanya, and Fabian - the intelligent cast of "13 Treasures" - find all the 13 charms? And if they do, will the fairies keep their promise?

5. Book: ‘Dancing Jax’; Written by Robin Jarvis; Published by Harper-Collins; Price: Rs.499

At the end of a track, on the outskirts of an ordinary coastal town, lies a dilapidated house. Once a group of amateur ghost hunters spent the night there. Two of them do not like to speak about the experience. The third can`t speak about it. He went into the basement and afterwards he screamed so hard and so long, that he tore his vocal cords.

Now, a group of teenagers have decided to hang out in the old haunted house. Their leader Jezza goes down into the basement... and comes back up with a children`s book, full of strange and colourful tales of a playing-card world, a fairytale world. But the book is no fairytale.

Written by Austerly Fellows, a mysterious occultist, it just might be the gateway to something terrifying...and awfully final. As the children and teenagers of the town are swept by its terrible power, something has begun that could usher in hell on earth. The only people standing in its way are a young boy with a sci-fi obsession, and his dad - an unassuming maths teacher called Martin.

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