Spotlights

Spotlight of Prem Purana by Usha Narayanan

Blog Tour by The Book Club of PREM PURANA by Usha Narayanan

 

 
PREM PURANA:
MYTHOLOGICAL LOVE STORIES
by
Usha Narayanan
 
Blog Tour by The Book Club of PREM PURANA by Usha Narayanan
 
BLURB
 
Stories of love and extraordinary devotion 
 
No one is untouched by love, not even devas and asuras, kings and nymphs. And when they face life’s unexpected tribulations, their love also undergoes trials. Read how Ganesha took myriad forms to please Riddhi, Siddhi and Buddhi, how Ravana shared an unbreakable bond with his true love, Mandodari and how Nala and Damayanti’s relationship was tested till almost nothing remained. 
 
Tormented by passion, wracked by betrayal, torn by the agony of separation, love in its many splendored forms is the origin of these incredibly endearing stories of Prem Purana. 
 
READ AN EXCERPT
Ganesha stood with Brahma’s daughter Siddhi on the sacred soil of Kailasa, offering worship to the linga that Parvati had installed. He glanced at his companion’s proud face, knowing that he had embarked on a rough path in attempting to win her over. For now, however, he had to focus on his confrontation with Parasurama whom Shiva had blessed with his great axe.

Siddhi watched from a safe distance as Ganesha bowed to the warrior and requested him to wait until Shiva granted him permission to enter. But Parasurama angrily pushed him aside and strode towards the cave. Ganesha intercepted him, causing the angry warrior to raise his axe to threaten him.

Finding that his antagonist would not listen to mere words, Shiva’s son extended his trunk by many lengths and wound it around Parasurama 100 times. He then raised the warrior into the skies so that he could see the seven mountains, the seven oceans and the seven islands of the earth below him. Then he whirled him around and showed him all the lokas including Vaikunta, where Lord Vishnu presided on his lotus throne with Devi Lakshmi. With his yogic power, Shiva’s son granted Parasurama a vision of Goloka, the purest of realms, where blue-hued Krishna resided with Radha and his gopis.

After showing Parasurama how insignificant he was when compared to the primordial universe spanning endless time and space, Gajamukha dropped him gently on the ground outside Shiva’s cave. He smiled at Siddhi who stood dazed, clinging to a tree for support, as she too had been granted the supernal vision by Ganesha’s grace. She realized now that her cheerful friend was called Vakratunda not because of his crooked trunk, but because he was the one who straightened out the crooked.

Parasurama recovered from his stupor and saw that he was lying on the ground at Ganesha’s feet. Incensed by this humiliation, he sprang to his feet and took up his mighty axe. The parasu hurtled towards Ganesha with a deafening roar. Siddhi trembled, certain that her friend would not survive the dire power of his father’s weapon.

Strangely enough, Gajamukha made no attempt to counter Parasurama’s axe. Instead, he joined his hands in worship to the parasu and stood calmly as if reconciled to his death.

Siddhi heard a horrific crack as the parasu struck one of Ganesha’s tusks and severed it completely. It fell to the ground with a crash, smeared in blood, looking like a crystal mountain covered in red chalk. Shiva rushed out of the cave, followed by Parvati, who turned into fiery Durga when she saw that her son had been wounded. She discerned what had happened and raged at the warrior who stood before her with the axe that had returned to his hand.

‘O Parasurama!’ she said. ‘You may be learned and wise and the son of a great sage, yet you have allowed wrath to overcome you. You received your parasu from your guru, Shiva, but abused your gift by using it to wound his son. Ganesha, on the other hand, allowed the axe to sever his tusk due to his respect for his father’s weapon. What next will you do, Parasurama? Will you assail mighty Shiva himself? Presumptuous warrior! I curse you this day that though you are an avatara of my beloved Vishnu, no one on earth or heaven will ever worship you!’

Parasurama cowered before the angry goddess whose fury grew by the moment. ‘It is only due to Ganesha’s forbearance that you are still alive, for he can kill a hundred thousand Parasuramas in the blink of an eye,’ she said. ‘But I am unwilling to be so tolerant and will end your life today!’

Durga rushed towards him, with her trident aimed at his head. Parasurama stood unarmed and unresisting. He closed his eyes, joined his hands together and surrendered to Krishna.

‘Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya!’ Parasurama chanted, invoking his god with his last breath.

At once, Krishna appeared before him, lustrous and omnipotent, granting him protection with one raised hand. Durga stopped mid-stride and gazed at Krishna. Her wrath vanished, dissolving like mist in the light of the sun. A beatific smile adorned her face. She offered him a reverential welcome along with Shiva.

Krishna addressed them gently, a calm smile on his face. ‘I have come here to rescue my devotee,’ he said. ‘Though Parasurama has committed a grievous sin, I request you to forgive him, Parvati. He is your son too, for you are the divine mother, the refuge of all creation. As for you, Parasurama, you have to undertake a severe tapasya to attain forgiveness. Worship the Devi who animates the three realms in the form of the gentle Gauri and the fierce Durga. Seek the blessings of Ganesha who is now Ekadanta, the lord with one tusk.’

Having offered his counsel, the lord returned to Goloka. Parasurama prostrated himself before the gods and laid his axe at Ganesha’s feet in tribute. He then retreated to a distant mountain to begin his worship. Parvati took her son into her mansion, to coddle him after his fierce encounter.

 

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About the Author

 


 

 

Usha Narayanan had a successful career in advertising, radio and corporate communications before becoming a full-time author. Her bestselling novels span multiple genres: ‘The Madras Mangler’, a suspense thriller; ‘Love, Lies and Layoffs’ (Harlequin) and ’Doctor Stalker Spy’ (Juggernaut), lighthearted romances; ‘Pradyumna: Son of Krishna’, ‘The Secret of God’s Son’ and her latest ‘Prem Purana’ (all from Penguin) that have been praised as ‘Indian mythology at its fiercest and finest.’ Two new books are in the offing. When she is not travelling, writing or editing, Usha reads everything from thrillers and romances to the puranas.

 

 

Click here to check out all the titles by the author…

Praise for Usha’s books:

 

 

 

‘Like the best of our mythological tales, Pradyumna: Son of Krishna too is a multilayered one…There is valour, there is cowardice, there is glory, there is shame, there is sex, lies and deception.’

 

 

 

The Secret of God’s Son is a compelling read on mythological tales.’ – The Sentinel

 

 

 

Prem Purana is so good! I am impressed at how Usha can write about Ganesha with so much personality while at the same time showing him as a cosmic divine being. ’ Dr Laura Gibbs, Professor, Indian Epics, University of Oklahoma 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Spotlights

Spotlight of Valley of the Kings by Terrance Coffey

VALLEY OF THE KINGS: THE 18TH DYNASTY by Terrance Coffey

 

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VALLEY OF THE KINGS: THE 18TH DYNASTY 

by 
Terrance Coffey
 
VALLEY OF THE KINGS: THE 18TH DYNASTY by Terrance Coffey
Blurb
In the year 1355 BCE, the land of Egypt was the superpower of the known world. King Tut’s father, Akenaten, the so-called ‘heretic pharaoh,’ and his wife, Queen Nefertiti, are on the verge of catapulting Egypt into a revolution that will forever divide its people and rip the most powerful empire on the earth from its foundation.
Inspired by the actual Hittite and Amarna letters of 14th century BCE, ‘Valley of the Kings: The 18th Dynasty’ is an epic novel of intrigue, passion, and betrayal, resurrecting the thrilling story of a singular leader whose beliefs were both visionary and disastrous.
 
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About the author

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terrance Coffey is a bestselling author, screenwriter, songwriter and composer with a predilection for Egyptian history. He has written numerous short stories, screenplays, television pilots, and even Coca-Cola music jingles. His debut novel “VALLEY OF THE KINGS: The 18th Dynasty” is the first of a trilogy and a #1 Amazon bestseller.

 

 

Awards & Accolades 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller!

 

2017 National Indie Excellence Awards FINALIST

 

2017 International Book Awards FINALIST

 

 

2016 International Pacific Book Award WINNER Best Historical Fiction  

 

 

 

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Spotlights

Spotlight of Avishi by Saiswaroopa Iyer

 

 
AVISHI
by
Saiswaroopa Iyer
 
Blurb
 
Long before the times of Draupadi and Sita
Immortalised in the hymns of the Rig Veda
But largely forgotten to the memory of India
Is the Warrior Queen with an iron leg, Vishpala
 
Brought up in the pristine forest school of Naimisha, Avishi reaches the republic of Ashtagani in search of her destiny. When Khela, the oppressive King of the neighbouring Vrishabhavati begins to overwhelm and invade Ashtagani, Avishi rises to protect her settlement. But peril pursues her everywhere.
 
Separated from her love, her settlement broken, with a brutal injury needing amputation of her leg, can Avishi overcome Khela?


If stories about ancient India, especially those with strong women characters interest you, then Avishi is a story you must read!

 
Read an excerpt here:
The structure under the outcast control looked like an autonomous garrison. It was on the Southwestern corner of Vrishabhavati hidden by wild growth and as heavily guarded as the city square. Avishi counted two doors as Vyala carried her inside. From the inside, it did not look as dilapidated as from outside. The guards here were the ‘out-casts’ as the world called them. Unlike the guards of the city, they did not cover themselves with leather torso. Instead they wore loin cloth in various darker shades. Small and big weapons, strings made up of various animal teeth, tusk work and beads made up their ‘jewellery’. To Avishi, it looked atrociously out of proportion. But she also noticed the level of coordination with which the ‘out-casts’ functioned. Like they were trained to fight in an army.

“Untie her.” Vyala instructed Manduka, his forehead revealing wrinkles of dilemma. Manduka was happy to comply. Except for a few scars on his shoulder, the man had an enviable physique. But it was his nose that Avishi felt was the pronounced feature of his face. It was as though it was abruptly turned crooked by his right nostril. She could see that the Outcast Lord made no attempt to hide his displeasure about the predicament she presented him. What worried her more was that she found herself incapable of even walking to the closest stone seat and had to limp leaning on Manduka. The wound seemed deeper than she had imagined it.

“We don’t kill women.” He began and paused noticing her unimpressed glare.

“Is that supposed to impress me? Is that supposed to cover up the other crimes you commit for that monster Khela?”

Vyala shook his head, a resentful smile appearing on his lips, but for only a moment. “Whatever we, the outcasts do would be a crime in the eyes of others…you are?”

“Avishi, the Ganamukhyaa of Ashtagani.”

“But he said that you are a traitor’s…”

Avishi glared back at him showing no inclination to explain. She saw Vyala sit on the stone seat next to where she sat.

“If Khela does not find a proof of your death soon, we would have to incur his wrath! An atrocity against the outcasts would not even be seen as a transgression by anyone.” His lips pursed for a long moment.

Avishi wondered if he expected a solution from her. Something she would have to help him out if she had to escape alive. But before she or Vyala could speak, a sound of heavy anklets was heard. Avishi turned to her right and saw a young woman, not older than seventeen autumns scurry and then clutch at her bulging belly. Her arrival only seemed to increase the gloom on the faces of both the men.

“Brother Vyala, did he not come with you?” Her shrill voice made Avishi think she was even younger than she looked. And impregnated at this age?

“Go back to your room, Majjari.” Vyala hissed.

But Majjari was in no mood to heed her brother’s words. She eyed Avishi, her head tilted to left and brows knitting. Her eyes then brightened.

“So, he sent me a slave!”

“Majjari!”

“Slave, do you know how to groom my hair the way Queens do?” Majjari approached Avishi taking her arm. “And mind you, slaves don’t sit when their mistress stands!”

Avishi had decided that her patience was at its tail end when she saw Vyala hurry and pull Majjari away, making her wince at his grip.

“Listen, you disgrace! Nobody is going to slave for you! Scurry back to your room and dare not show that inauspicious face of yours again!”

Majjari shook his arm away with a hiss. “Wait till I become the Queen, you, worthless dog!” Her tone broke. “I shall make Khela punish you! I bear his prince! Mind you!” The fierce frown stayed on her forehead long after she countered her brother. Avishi saw Manduka intervene and lead Majjari away with endearments that one would use with a toddler.

Vyala’s shoulders slumped.

“You let Khela impregnate your own sister.” Avishi shook her head at Vyala. “Lord Vyala, where do I even begin?”

“You are nobody to judge us Ganamukhyaa. Khela promised us a slow integration with his military if…”

“You loot and kill for him? He gets the spoils hiding behind the dread of Dandaka?”

Vyala’s jaw clenched. “You’ve never been to Dandaka, Ganamukhyaa Avishi. If you did, you would… Why in the name of Mother earth am I even justifying myself to you.” Vyala gathered himself signalling at two other outcast followers. “Take her inside and treat her wound.” Turning to Avishi for a brief moment, he added with a tone of finality. “I shall do my best to not kill you, but I can’t afford Khela’s wrath on my people. Not now, Ganamukhyaa.”

Future still hung in balance. Avishi had to come to terms with the fact that any attempt to escape from here will only complicate things for her. And she truly needed her wound to be tended. The knife that wounded her might have rusted. Tears of frustration threatened to flow out of her eyes. She told herself to bide her time and regain her lost energy.

 
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About the author

 

 

 

 

Saiswaroopa Iyer is an IITian and Venture Capital professional turned author. Her debut novel Abhaya, published in 2015, was a tale set in the Mahabharata period, exploring the legend of Narakasura Vadha. She likes to focus and expand on ancient Indian stories with strong female characters.

 

 

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Book Reviews

Book Review of The Day Before I Died

The Day Before I Died by Ashi Kalim is a historical fiction with a blend of hope, betrayal, love and many other emotions. This book has powerful names which makes it strong.

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The cover of the book fascinates the readers as it has a beautiful doll in it. This doll is Matryoshka doll that is a Russian Doll and has symbolic significance in it. Every girl who is treated as a doll in the family can co-relate to it.

The title is captivating and it arises an urge to know more and more. It is about the moments of war, love, betrayal.

The lesser known TRUE Love Story of a RUSSIAN dictator Josef Stalin’ s Daughter that changed the world order forever……..

Svetlana had never known pure love, till she meets Brajesh…
Brajesh is a fun-loving, mischievous and caring Indian prince who visits Russia and captures Svetlana’s heart. He christens her as “His Matryoshka.”
Once his work gets done, he leaves for India, taking Svetlana’s heart with him.
Unable to forget him and confident of his love for her, Svetlana travels to India in search of her prince.
Does she find him? What happens to her love? How does the international politics affect her life?
Inspired by true life incidents, The Day Before… I Died narrates the love between Svetlana – daughter of the infamous dictator Josef Stalin – and Brajesh Singh, an Indian Kunwar.
The murder, trails, betrayals and the hope leads to more agony.

The opening line by Hitler takes away my heart. This is a glimpse of a powerful start. The story revolves around Svetlana who happens to be the daughter of great Stalin. She is treated as a doll. Life takes a turn when she comes across Brajesh, who has come from India. This story has various twists and turns. Moreover, it highlights international politics in an enlightened way.

The way the author has characterised Svetlana is impeccable. I instantly fell in love with her character. The way she doesnt idolise her father, Stalin, the way she admires Brajesh’s thoughts. Her selfless love for Brajesh and the people related to him makes her a great figure. She is adaptable to her surroundings which is the strongest point in her character portrayal.

The style of writing is simple yet poetic. The very first page has a poem about Matryoshka which moves you to such an extend that the hopes of this book being a hit begin to hover your mind. Further, the way the author has expressed her thoughts through her moutpiece, Svetlana is worth appreciating. There were certain editing errors here and there but that doesnt affect the powerful thought process.

NOte: Mostly books of debutantes are dissected badly. We reviewers always talk about the negatives and not highlight the best ever points. So, here I tried to make a change in my pattern. I will talk about the positives more and negatives less. FOr me, this book is a must buy book. This review is unbiased and honest.

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Interviews

Interview with Vandana Shanker

Hello Lovelies,

I am back with an interview session. Today we have Vandana Shanker, who is the author of 1857 Dust of Ages.

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When did writing happened to you?

It is difficult to put down a specific moment or a time period that writing happened to me. I wrote poems and short stories in schools but being a writer was never a serious goal. It was during the time I was pursuing my research in literature, that I became familiar with this very interesting and dynamic field of fan writing and I dabbled there. From there on, it became a part of leisure activities. But 1857 Dust of Ages was the first attempt at serious writing, and it took nearly a year and half of disciplined writing to complete the book. So serious writing is fairly recent.

 
What made you choose Historical topic?

As I was pursuing my research at IIT Delhi, a friend of mine was writing a thesis on 1857 novels. She had lots of British novelists in her list and not a single India. It was the first time we became aware this gap. Not many Indian fiction writers of have explored the 1857. As we read, I became more fascinated and wanted to write a story from an Indian perspective, especially an Indian warrior woman’s perspectives because the first stories I heard of 1857 were of women like Lakshmi Bai, Hazrat Mahal and it is very different from the Indian woman I found in British literature.

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What type of genres you generally like and why?

Of course, the historical. A book well-grounded in history is the most fascinating read for me. Then come the spy thrillers, romances and mysteries. Some years ago, I was completely obsessed by fantasy fiction, but a PhD in the genre cured me of that.

 

How was your experience with your publishers?

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That’s a trick question, isn’t it?J. The experience has been mixed. My earlier book which was a very formulaic romance found a publisher and was published in a jiffy. It was an interesting experience. But for Dust of Ages, I did not want to get into compromising on things that traditional publishing asks of you – the length, insertion and deletion of scenes and endless waiting etc. So I decided to keep it free of such demands and self-publishing gave me that freedom. So yes, the experience with the publishers has been a mixed. But I would say we are lucky that today we have the option of going indie.

When can we expect your other works?

Second and third instalments of Dust of Ages are already out on Amazon. Last two parts release in March. Once that is done, perhaps another historical next year.

 

Book Reviews

Book Review of Another Tale of Two Cities by Ezuth Aani

Another Tale of Two Cities by Ezuth Aani is a Historical Romance.This book gives a new meaning to the writing.I got the copy from Inspire India Publishers in return of an honest review and the review is unbiased.

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Some books are unique and they deserve to be reviewed and appreciated. Well, coming to this book, I instantly fell in love with the mesmerising cover of the book. The way the colour pattern of readdish orange with a tinge of yellow is there, makes it remarkable. It reminds us of the time when the sun is about to set. Then there is a pocture background of a palace that adds life to it.

The title of the book is intriguing. It takes us back to the pipeline of Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens who always wrote about the conditions of England but its just a memory, not the similar story. The title talks about another tale of Two cities that has some relevant significance.

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This novel can be categorised under the genre Historical and social novel. It has traces of history in it as it talks about the two kingdoms who are from ancient times, probably during 1430. Further, it talks about the norms, conditions that prevailed during the time period.

Fourteen thirty one is the year remembered for the martyrdom of Joan of Arc. But another landmark event was unfolding in a future French colony. Cambodia was a cultural cauldron of Hinduism, Mahayana Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism. The largest metropolis of the pre industrial era was also facing a climate change calamity. The story unfolds in fifteenth century Cambodia and travels to China, Sri Lanka, India and the Middle East, as Princes Adithya and Mahendra set out to seek help for their beleaguered country. Will the splendid twin cities of Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom survive? Who wins the heart of Mandagini, the warrior princess?

The plot of the novel is mindblowing. It revolves around two kingdoms, Angkor Wat and Ankor Thom who are at war. Its a quest for botht he princes who wants to win the heart of princess Mandagini. The plot construction is done in such a way that all the attention is given to the themes of the novel which includes, society, religion, love and many more. The author is unsurpassable in his amazing character portrayal.

This book is rich in historical facts. The factual information actually reveals author’s detailed research about the kingdoms. The research and facts looks so intelligable that it is difficult to make out the fictional as well as real part. This is a treat for history lovers and these facts only makes it different from other romances or historical fiction.

Likes:
The plot is strong
The characters are well built.
Amazing editing
Unique concept
Remarkable themes
Rich in language

Dislikes:
People who are not admirers of history might not like it.
The sectioning of novel could have been better; the novel has no chapters, only parts.
This can be a turn off.

Book Quality:

The quality of the book is amazing. The pricing is just appropriate. The pages are fine and the delivery speed is just accurate so, go and order this book, if you want a new experience.

Grab your copies from :http://www.amazon.in/Another-tale-cities-Ezhuth-Aani/dp/9385783866?_encoding=UTF8&ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

 

 

 

Book Reviews

Book Review: The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur

The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur by Priyonkar Dasgupta can be categorised as Fan Fiction, Historical Fiction,Teen Fiction and even a text under Indian Writing. I have read many stories based on the lives of childhood or teens. But, this one is unique. When I was asked to review this book,I was in a confused state as whether to take it or not, as the title sounded like that it is a horror book. After a deep counting I said yes to the book. Yesterday, I started with this book and completed it in a few hours. The story was so fascinating that I couldn’t stop in between and completed it in one go. So, you want to know how was my journey while reading it? Ofcourse you do! Lets read between the lines:

Cover- The cover of the book is apt. The sketch and the colour scheme arouses interest in our mind.

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Title- As I always say, Never judge a book by its title. But this time I did and the author beautifully proved me wrong. Will surely tell you in the other sections.

Blurb- It is the early 1990’s – the ‘picturesque’ small-town of Rajpur is in ‘full summer bloom’ and there is a definite sense of mystery in the air. Amidst its scenic setting each year a group of boy band together to spend their summer vacations – going cycling to far-off forests, sharing books, discussing everything under the sky and ogling at girls… But as youth would have it, their curious minds are more inclined to seek adventure and (hopefully!) uncover some mysterious affair. However, unlike their previous vain attempts, this time certain unusual events and the sudden appearance of a curious case of a ghost in their midst seem to hold the promise of some real adventure. In the pages of The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur rest assured that you will soon be whisked off and plunged into a headlong journey of adventure and romance of your own – on a path of discovery of friendship and brotherhood, of life and love – and, who knows, you might even encounter the Speaking Ghost itself!

Category of Novel- According to my analysis, this can novel can be categorised as Regional Novel(https://www.reference.com/art-literature/regional-novel-788fb7257b925ac1) as well as Picareque Novel(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picaresque_novel).

Plot- The plot is gripping and the author has beautifully woven it. There are no cliches or digressions in it. This is a story of a guy named, Shoumo who shares his experience of summer holidays. This quickly transports the reader to their own childhood where they used to go to play, enjoy those carefree times. The era of children story books, especially those ghost stories, games and comics. It fills us with nostalgia.

There is also a highlight on the peer group. In this book, The guy wants to fit himself in the group of notorious boys. He does all those things to fit which includes smoking cigarette.

Characterisation- The characters are carefully chosen by the author. He has done an amazing job in their delineation. There was proper attention given and space given to them to play their roles.

Style- The book is written in a simple, lucid language. We find a lyrical note in it where the imageries and metaphors are beautifully used. The author has beautifully penned down the tale and it sounded like a music being played smoothly. The book is a mixture of first person and third person narrative. It actually refreshes the minds of the reader. And yes once again, the book is opposite to its title so do ponder over buying it.

As we know,” Every coin has a flip side” so this book as have that corner. There were some typo errors which can be easily corrected. I hope the next edition is error free. Kuddos to the author for transporting me to the best phase my life.

Availability- http://www.amazon.in/Speaking-Ghost-Rajpur-Priyonkar-Dasgupta/dp/8193099109

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25582445-the-speaking-ghost-of-rajpur