Indian fantasy-writing has puzzled me. Most fantasy writers seem intent on providing a scientific or pseudo-scientific rationale for the mythology as though they are still defending themselves against accusations of primitive superstition.
It is not like J.K.Rowling explains that the Avada Kedavara curse kills because the wand is voice-activated to emit a nano-particle beam at the victim to coagulate the blood in his heart. Not does Tolkien claim that his Balrog is actually an android with a flame-thrower in his throat and a neuronic whip in his hand. The art of writing fantasy lies in inducing a 'willing suspension of disbelief' in the reader. Most Indian fantasy writing, however, fails in this merely because a reader, who is willing to suspend disbelief in the matter of accepting magic, is unable to believe in the 'scientific' rationale for the myth.
The blurb for 'The Krishna Key' makes it appear as though it is an urban fantasy i.e the introduction of mythical elements into the everyday world of today. The tale, however, seems to be written with the intent of following the treasure hunt style of tale so successfully adopted by Dan Brown. The problem, however, is that it failed to impress me as either type of story.
The Krishna Key reminded me of nothing but the "Chariots of the Gods" by Von Danniken. The latter is a book of speculative theories about the origins of myths. The Krishna Key is much the same - except that Ashwin Sanghi dresses it up in a gauze-thin veneer of a thriller tale. In the utter disregard for character verisimilitude - as witness a school drop-out lecturing a gape-mouthed history researcher and a lawyer in as many diverse things as nuclear sciences, myth as well as history - and even timelines, it becomes clear that the story is merely intended a vehicle for the speculative theories that the author intended to communicate.
I do not have much of an interest in speculative theories about myths. Thus, for me, it is a grave disappointment to read such a book when I was looking forward to reading a decent fantasy/thriller. After a gripping start the book degenerates into a series of lectures with just enough action thrown in every now and then to get the book to a close.
Ashwin Sanghi, however, is a pleasant surprise in the English he uses since his usage of Hinglish is sparing and restricted mostly to the dialogues of his characters. If he had intended to write a workable novel with all these theories in place, he should have opted for a longer size for the book and paid more attention to his characters.
All in all, it may be an interesting book if you like speculative theories about the myths of the past and you do not read the book expecting it to be a great thriller or fantasy.