Friday, December 30, 2016

The Dawn at Dusk - Book Review

The Dawn at Dusk
By Sandeep Nayyar
Review By Ila Garg

The Dawn at Dusk, a novel by Sandeep Nayyar, is published by Ocean Paperbacks, a division of Ocean Books Pvt. Ltd. The cover shows a warrior woman. The backdrop of a dusty ground looks like a battle field scene. Let’s see what the book is about because the cover is quite intriguing!

Sandeep Nayyar is a mechanical engineer by qualification, an IT consultant by profession and a writer by choice. Born in 1969, Sandeep has had a great flair and passion for writing since his early childhood. Despite qualifying as an engineer, he has also worked as a journalist and has written regular columns for various newspapers and magazines. Sandeep now lives in the UK with his wife and two children, and The Dawn at Dusk is his debut novel.

The blurb reads as, “A gripping tale of love, betrayal, and vengeance, steeped in the magical realism of post-Vedic India.
Shatvari is a beautiful young Brahmin girl, practitioner of classical music and firm believer in the holy Vedas and its spiritual philosophies. The king of the Yaduvanshis and his scheming priests twist that faith to turn her into a bloodthirsty Chandaal warrior.
Exploited and shattered, Shatvari hunts a magical Yantra and the spiritual powers it contains. But in her single-minded pursuit of revenge, she falls victim to the curse lurking within the very same miraculous powers.
Elsewhere, the young Nishaad King Neel, courtesans Amodini and Vaishali, and the Yaduvanshis’ nemeses the Raghuvanshis, gear up to enter the fray as well.
What heavenly powers lie within the Yantra, and what curse stays the hands of those who would unleash them? Can Shatvari survive that curse and harness those powers? Will the Yaduvanshis’ other enemies help Shatvari seek her vengeance? Or will the story end in all-out war?”

Trivia: This book, The Dawn at Dusk was originally published in Hindi as ‘Samarsiddha’.

As you can make out from the blurb, the novel is set in the 8th century in post-Vedic India. It deals with some really impactful themes, the main theme being the caste system which was prevailing in India since centuries, and still continues to exist in some parts.

The author has sketched all the characters beautifully. Shatvari is a young Brahmin upper caste girl. She is vehemently against caste system. Despite having so many qualities, when she is married off, her husband betrays her trust. She is then left with her son only. Gunjan who is a Shudra boy (lower caste) suffers a lot due to the caste discrimination. Shatvati argues with her father to let Gunjan have access to education but he insists that Gunjan has to work like his father. Shatvati still continues to try her best to help him gain an equal status but fails in the process as Gunjan is killed. After his death, Shatvati turns revengeful.

The language is simple and easy to comprehend. Nowhere will a reader feel any disconnect. I found it quite engaging as the plot has a sense of uniqueness. The stereotypical gender roles and caste discrimination are the things we often talk about but presenting them in a story form, deserves appreciation.

How the class disparity ruins lives, how Shatvati fails despite tremendous efforts to help Gunjan, how she is betrayed by her own husband who chooses an extra-marital affair over her, how she survives with her son alone, how her life goes through multiple changes, is she a victim or a warrior are some of the many reasons why you will keep turning the pages to find out what happens in The Dawn at Dusk.

Further, this 238-page book is a light read and overall a compelling book. I specially was hooked to Shatvati’s character. However, some readers might feel the plot to be a little exaggerated and far-fetched.

Ratings: 3/5

Buying Link: Amazon

P.S. - I got the book from Cyclops Literary Services in exchange of an honest review.


  1. Thanks Ila. Please also watch this theme song and promo video