Hrishikesh Diwan’s The Tale of the Dark Warrior launched on New Year’s Day and I wasted no time in reading it – not a difficult thing to do since it is a novella and was instantly available the moment it launched.
The novella tells the tale of several different people, where their lives intersect, and how certain actions of each of them affects the lives of the others. There is also a mysterious man who keeps turning up and asking very philosophical questions of these characters. The shifting focus of the narrative, as well as the barely-visible common skein running through it keep you in a bit of a dreamy state. The fog lifts towards the end, and as realization dawns on you, several things that you read earlier fall into place, and the story suddenly emerges from its wispy hiding place into full HDR glory. At that point, you feel satisfied with yourself for having had this experience. And that is the triumph of this work.
The narrative is tight, with little room for skipping passages. It flows along at a fair pace, and the switching points of view keep you engaged and your interest heightened. We get a fair idea of the dimensions of the characters, though a lot of it happens after the switch is thrown in the end, as it were.
I read the novella with zero background to it – I hadn’t read anything about it, nor had I watched the author’s video, and this added to my experience. Given my lack of knowledge in certain areas, a bit of reading up after the fact helped add an additional layer of understanding.
Overall, this was an interesting ride – well-written, interesting story, nice reveal and leaving you wanting more. If I had not known Hrishi personally, and someone had recommended this book to me and I had read it, I would be awaiting the next work from the author.
Here’s what Hrishi himself has written about the journey of writing this book.