Series: Chronicle of The Three #1
Author: Laxmi Hariharan
Genre: Fantasy, Young-Adult,
Publisher: Laxmi Hariharan
Background: The Destiny of Shaitan, the first novel in The Chronicle of The Three series is a coming of age story, about a girl who falls in love only to realise that to be truly happy, she has to first find herself. Set in 3000 AD, when the galaxy is populated by humans as well as a half human, half alien race called half lives, this novel, tracks the protagonists from five to seventeen years old.
Synopsis: When Tiina accompanies her ex-boyfriend Yudi on a mission to save the universe from the ruthless Shaitan, she seeks more than the end of the tyrant; she seeks herself. Driven by greed and fear for his own survival, Shaitan bulldozes his way through the galaxy, destroying everything in his path. Tiina wants Yudi to eliminate Shaitan, thus fulfilling the prophecy of the powerful autocrat being killed by his son, but she finds that Yudi is hesitant to do so. The final showdown between Yudi and Shaitan has unexpected consequences, for Shaitan will do anything in his power to win the fight—including getting rid of Tiina. The stakes are high and the combatants determined. Will Shaitan's ultimate destiny be fulfilled?
Return to 7 Islands, (Chronicle of The Three, #2): The Destiny of Shaitan, ends with Tiina, leaving everything she knows—including Yudi and the world she helped save from Shaitan—in search of herself. The second novel in the series, titled Return to 7 Islands, follows Tiina as she lands in a futuristic Bombay—now reduced by a tsunami to its original seven islands—and helps Rai, in defending his childhood orphanage from the clutches of Sharmila, Shaitan's daughter. As she struggles to come to terms with her origins in an attempt to understand herself better, she discovers a surprise about her past.
The lightning strikes him down, charring him black with smoke ebbing out, and he awakes to the gut-wrenching pain.
Thump. Kreeee. Thump. Kreeeeee…
Yudi jolts into consciousness from the sound. He throws off the covers and pads onto the small terrace adjoining his bedroom, wearing just the pair of black shorts he sleeps in. He is on the eighteenth floor of a fifty-eight storey apartment block. The distance does not hinder the noise, which carries to him through the dawn air, growing louder by the second: Thump. Kreeee. THUMP. KREEEE…
Down below, he sees the aged Plutonian female going about her early morning ritual of dragging the large steel pole, bumping down the sleeping escalator steps. Every morning at five o’clock without fail, that annoying noise wakes him up. And every morning he looks out the window to see her walking down the escalator, which would normally be running in the upward direction if it were switched on.
Why does she not take the path next to the escalator? It would make the going much easier for her. And where does she go with that one single steel pole every morning? He ponders her routine just as he has every morning.
Another of life’s great mysteries…just like the question of who my real father is. The thought comes unbidden, as if the urban chemistry swirling in the air is mocking him. The smog of the early dawn creeps in—a reminder of the clogged, urban city where he lives—masking the scene below until all he can see is his own face reflected in his mind’s eye.
Without turning, he reaches for the half-empty cigarette pack placed within arm’s length on the small wrought iron table on the terrace. He flicks on the vintage Ronson gas lighter, its golden casing long since rubbed away by frequent use to a dull brown. The cigarette paper crackles as it lights up. He pulls in a drag and exhales, watching the smoke as it melds with the smog, hitting the sticky side of the taller one hundred and eight storey-high apartment buildings on either side of the street. The smog slithers toward the other open window of the apartment diagonally opposite, where the young man living there often parades his women.
His heart begins to beat in sync to the thump, kreeee, thump, kreeee, even as the sound fades. He shuts his eyes. I am safe. I am safe. No. I am scared, so scared. Feeling so helpless is unstoppable, and the sensation grows within him.
After stubbing out the half-smoked cigarette with jerky movements, he reaches for another.
Athira’s voice rings in his ears. “Being sixteen isn’t permission to smoke your lungs out all in one go. You’ve got the rest of your life to live. Space it out a bit.”
He steels himself against the prick of consciousness that was bound to follow and continues to light his second cigarette of the day. As he pulls on the cigarette with his right hand, he plays with the faded Ronson in his left. Its smooth, much rubbed surface is a slight comfort. It’s the only reminder left of his father.
Adopted father, he corrects himself.
However much his logical mind tried to believe what Athira told him, his heart refused to listen. Athira would always remain both his father and mother. The man had not just raised him, but had showered him in love in a strong affectionate manner, which had bound them forever.
As usual, thinking of Athira sends his mind into overdrive and he shuts his eyes against the pain. He can feel every separate beat of his heart, realise the full breadth of his life, and discern each individual moment in that space.
So, this is how it feels to be powerless. His thoughts hang alongside the window and then hurtle against the glass, crashing into a thousand pieces in his mind.
Stop! Breathe! He admonishes himself, and clinging on, tries to haul himself up. Mentally, he stays suspended over the precipice for a few seconds, and then he is there, back on stable ground.
Yudi sighs and opens his eyes. Panic attacks have an annoying way of creeping up on him when he is at his most vulnerable. The images will come rushing back and once more his mind races over that well trodden memory path.
About the Author:
While born in India, Laxmi Hariharan has lived in Singapore and Hong Kong and is now based in London. She has written for various publications including The Times of India, The Independent, Inside Singapore, Inside Hong Kong and Asian Age. Indian mythology inspires her work. When not writing, this chai-swigging technophile enjoys long walks in the woods, growing eye-catching flowers and indulging her inner geek. Her debut novel The Destiny of Shaitan is available on Amazon http://tiny.cc/szqsew.
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Utopia & you’d better believe it—Laxmi Hariharan
I wrote The Destiny of Shaitan over a period of a few years, in a very organic, stream of consciousness fashion, as it came to me and without the benefit of any writing lessons. For a long time I didn’t even know that my novels were in the fantasy genre. Yet I must have had some inkling for I have always been an escapist. From the very first scene of Mad Max & later Terminator I have been hooked to the concept of dystopia. The only difference is I tend to write about a hopeful dystopia—if that makes sense? My worlds are always optimistic. I love the idea of a speculative future set in a post-apocalyptic civilisation after the old has been wiped out by a catastrophe, the chance to start afresh having always being seductively appealing. In the post-apocalyptic world of The Destiny of Shaitan, set in 3000 AD, technology can only be used for the good of all ie. can be used for travel & communication but cannot be misused for evil. It’s an ideal world right? And so I realised, my writing was probably more utopian speculative fiction, with a sizzle of romance and a dash of introspection. As I researched this further I found, I also fit somewhere in the "sword and planet" genre too. Something like Edgar Rice Burroughs, Barsoom series' which popularized the concept of pulp-style adventures on other planets. Barsoom (Mars) manifested a chaotic melange of cultural and technological styles, combining futuristic devices such as radium pistols and flying machines suspended by a mysterious levitating ray with Martian cavalry charges, emperors and princesses, sword-fighting, and a credibility-stretching martial code that justifies it. Frank Herbert's Dune and George Lucas' Star Wars were direct inheritors of this tradition of welding the futuristic to the medieval. The Barsoom stories was also pure swashbuckler—a series of imprisonments, gladiatorial combat, escapes, monster-killings, and duels with villains. Love it! Mind you, I didn’t know about these books until I had almost neared the end of writing my first novel. Thus I tried to piece the various pieces of my novel together, I realised that to make my utopia believable, I needed a framework for my world. Sure my novel was a work of fiction, but to be credible I had to come up with my own set of rules by which my galaxies & their residents could function; a clear framework of do’s & don’ts which the characters would follow. That way I could also control these CHARACTERS a lot better, so they were not off doing bizarre things which had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. And so overnight and using a power-point—no no kidding!—I came up with a series of slides, outlining all the rules of my universe. In fact I went a step further and plotted out the entire book, act-by-act using flow charts. Tedious as this sounds, I actually found that it lightened my load. I had carried around all of this information in my head for so long, it was a relief to get the plot, the chapters, the flow, the timelines and the rules of the world down in a very coherent fashion. I had my very own blue-print for my fictional world. Now as I write the second book in the Chronicle of The Three, Return to Seven Islands, all I have to do is refer back to these diagrams to refresh my memory, and off I go. Truly even creativity needs a little bit of configuration.
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