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M Venkatesh – The Fang of Summoning

Book Review

Giti Chandra
The Fang of Summoning 
Publisher: Hachette. 2010.
Pp: 265; Price: Rs 250

Gripping Suspense

Finally a homegrown, young-adult fantasy by an Indian author. If this book is an indicator, Giti Chandra’s credentials as a conductor for the college choir and the Capital City Minstrels must be impeccable. As Chandra wields the pen like the conductor’s baton, the story moves skillfully between theatres 1,000 years apart with remarkable dexterity. 

Much has happened globally in fantasy and the supernatural. The Harry Potter series, Artemis Fowl, Percy Jackson and The Twilight series being the popular flag bearers of this genre. Its Indian representation, however, was sadly lacking.
Chandra’s novel goes some way in filling that gap and quenching that thirst. Racy, often touching breakneck speeds of narration, The Fang of Summoning, is about the battle between good and evil. 

The story starts off intriguingly on an ice-swept, craggy mountainside in Iceland in the year 984 AD. Fourteen-year-old Aurora battles to protect a secret, the Starstone crystal, which should not fall into the hands of the evil Edasich. Aurora has been given the all-important secret by the great snake, Vasuki. 

Ancient legend, goes the story, has it that Vasuki is the nurturer while Edasich (it means hyena) is the predator. But there came a time when both their energies ebbed and they began to die. But each had a choice – to die or to live. Edasich chose the latter, which meant that he had to sustain himself on sources of energy that could barely help him stay alive. It leaves him desperately seeking the Starstone that will power his life with the immense energy stored inside.

One thousand years later, the story moves to Gurgaon and Delhi as the Starstone is reborn in India. The role of Guardians now falls on the chosen six – Adit, Akshat, Amar, Ananya, Tarini and Noor – who find themselves developing strange, superhuman powers. 

As Edasich moves in to retrieve the Starstone, the six children are sucked into a series of adventures that turn horrific at times. All they have to go on are codes and fragments of an Ancient Prophecy. Can Vasuki help them at all?

In this the brothers and sisters can only trust their grandfather (who, at first, doesn’t let on that he knows so much about the Prophecy), grandmother, Hsimah the Tooth Fairy (aka the Fang Collector), their own parents and an uncle who has the ability to transform into a lion. Edasich, with his army of dead soldiers, tries every trick in the book to eliminate everyone who stands in his way and that of his target.

The Fang of Summoning catches hold of the reader and doesn’t let go till the suspense moves towards a climax that jumps from the Northern Lights-splattered setting of Iceland to the snow-covered Himalayas.

“Fantasy, rooted in reality,” is how the author has described her debut novel. This is the first in the Book of Guardians series. Wait for the others.


Feature–Young Adult Literature

    Deepa Agarwal : Young Adult Literature in India

    Panchanan Dalai : Don’t Tell My Mother
    Devika Rangachari : Gender as an Issue in YAL
    Jojo Joy N & Merin Simi Raj : IE Fiction in new YA Age
    Manisha Chaudhry : Multilingual Publishing
    Dhriti Ray Dalai : Bhibhutibhushan’s Chander Pahar
    Nandini Nayar : Ranjit Lal’s Survival Fiction
    Neerja Sharma : Narayan’s Swami and Friends
    Stuti Goswami : ‘The Quiet, the Robust and Very, Very Naughty’

In Conversation
    Siddhartha Sarma : In discussion with Sunita Baveja

    Keki Daruwalla
    Sampurna Chattarji
    Shelly Bhoil Sood
    Shruti Sareen

Short Fiction
    Anil Menon : ‘Shrieknath’
    Rajni Gupta : ‘Indian Railways’
    Sanjay Khati : ‘Pinty’s Soap’
    Swapna Dutta : ‘Yesterday’

    M Venkatesh – The Fang of Summoning

Children’s Section
    Aritro Bose
    Gunjas Singh
    Tanvi Banerjee : Tagore’s ‘Dhrishti’

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