Book Review- The Tower Of Silence

Title: The Tower Of Silence

Written By: Phiroshaw Jamsetjee Chevalier ‘Chaiwala’

Edited and with an Introduction by: Gyan Prakash

About Gyan Prakash (Few lines from the book) –

Gyan Prakash is the Dayton-Stockton Professor of History at Princeton University. He is the author of several books, including the acclaimed Mumbai Fables (Harper Collins, 2010).

ISBN:  978-9350296370

Cover Price: Rs. 299.00

Rating:  5/5

Something about the book (from the book’s cover):

Sexton Blake is back in the game.

In this rousing tale of revenge and detection, an airplane swoops down recklessly over a Tower of Silence in Poona to photograph the heap of bodies and bones inside, desecrating the resting place of the parsi dead. The Zoroastrian world is shaken to its core. Soon after, the editor of the English magazine that published the photo, the pilot and the photographer are under attack by the dapper Parsi vigilante, Beram. He chases his quarry from London to Liverpool, Manchester, Burma, Bombay and Poona, using clever deceptions, disguises, secret cellars and deadly poisons. It is up to internationally renowned detective Sexton Blake to save his fellow Englishmen from Beram’s determined attacks.

The Tower Of Silence has a publication history as thrilling as the tale it holds within its covers. Historian Gyan Prakash of Princeton University stumbled upon part of this unpublished manuscript in the British Library. He diligently scoured a number of Mumbai libraries before he found the missing pages. Now readers can experience the thrill of witnessing Sexton Blake, favourite detective of yester-years, return to the world stage to face his greatest challenge yet.

Now for my View:

One word – Amazing!

I must have mentioned it over and over again in numerous book reviews as to how much I love reading stories set in the early 1900s. Hence, when Indiblogger came up with a number of books from Harper Collins for review, I had to apply for The Tower Of Silence after reading the blurb about it. So when I finally got my copy, I devoured it in a day!

The book is about the Parsee community in the 1920s. It revolves around an incident when a picture is taken of the Parsee Tower of Silence, which in turn sets in motion a chain of events that bring about the fascinating battle between a Parsee vigilante Beram and a world renowned detective Sexton Blake. What ensues is so interesting that it is hard to describe it in words, unless you pick up the book for a read. Highly satisfactory, is certainly one of the adjectives I would use for this book. Un-put-down-able is another word that does justice to this out of the ordinary yarn.

The book, every page of it, is a treat. There is not a dull moment in it, trust me. The rivalry and the battle of wits between Beram and Blake kept me engrossed till the very last page. Their characters are beautifully etched. I couldn't decide whether I liked Beram more or Blake! At times in the book I wanted Beram to succeed in his plans while at the very next moment I wanted Blake to outwit Beram.

The book gives an insight into the world of the Parsees which lends the story a remarkable dimension. And the ease, with which Beram and Blake disguise themselves or use exotic poisons, though unbelievable, is enduring and never for a moment did I feel the surprises being stretched.

Anything I write about this tale and its twists and turns would fail to do justice to the intrigue that this book is all about!

The only regret I have is that there aren’t more books about Beram and Blake, for the book left me wanting for more installments of these great characters.

If you like Sherlock Holmes, trust me this is the book for you. Perhaps if more copies of this book would have been published in its time, we would have Sexton Blake too at par with some of the best fictional detectives!

The book is a quest, a quest to find the real author and another of the great Beram & Blake. And it’s a quest that ought not to be missed! So don’t wait further, grab your copy now!