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August 20, 2014 / subramanyam

The Devil’s Gate

          How many of us remember the Panchatantra or the stories from Aesop’s fables ? Remember the pure joy we experienced in our childhood listening to them. It was not just fun listening/reading those tales, we all learnt a lot of lessons from those (at least we were supposed to 🙂 ) didn’t we ? Now imagine this, imagine a situation where a person writes not just short story but a full fledged novel using animals as a central theme and also tries to teach his readers a lesson or two about living. Imagine a story where animals feel threatened by the social animals and prefer negotiating with demons for a place to live. Well that’s the world the author Deepak Kripal wants us to visit. Before I speak more about his work “The Devils Gate: An Impossible Journey”, here is the blurb of the book.

Sidelined by man, animals turned to demons.
Plundered by humans of their habitats, animals take a drastic step when they decide to send a team of a cat named as Katy and a dog named as Dug, to an invisible island known, as the Island of ‘Five Hundred Graves’. The island becomes visible only for a short time on the night of the full moon. Legend has it that the island is inhabited by the demons. Katy and Dug are supposed to negotiate a deal with the demons, convincing them to allow the animals inhabit the island. Majority of the animal community believe that tinkering with the other world could bring their wrath to the animals. The team is sent to the island nevertheless. But, can a deal with the dead be materialized? Are there really demons on the island? is there any conspiracy involved? Will Katy and Dug be able to negotiate, or will survival remain their only question in the deadly island?

Here is a video trailer

          Katy, a female cat loses her mom early in her life, while the shock jolts her, she decides to fight with the oddities of her life , she fights the troubles and soon reaches to a revered position in ilk. Her fame reaches far and wide and reaches to such long frontiers that one fine day a very secret group sends

The Front Cover

The Front Cover

their envoy to her and asks her to take up a mission. What was the decision of Katy  in this case? How did this effect the happy go lucky Dug and the philosopher Owl. Did they take up the trip to the forbidden island? What surprises awaited them there? How did the demons respond? Were there only demons or some other creatures that were ready to pounce on these hapless animals? Was this mission a legal one ? Read the book to have the answers to all these questions.

          I loved the way the story was told, initially I did feel that there was a drag initially , but then the pace of the story really picks up and one would really enjoy it as one reaches the middle of the book. I am a fan of great conversations in the books and this one has a lot to offer for people like me. The way Katy, Dug and the owl exchange ideas was awesome. The quotes and quick and witty responses (particularly from Katy 🙂 ) made me enjoy and learn a few things. Awesome job by Deepak. One more thing I really liked was the way the author tried to portray that evil tries to control not just people but the elements that make life. Again, awesome philosophy that comes in tale where only animals are involved. I also loved the way the author only makes references to humans but never has a human in the book, the plot must have been a well thought out one. The English was good and is one that suits the readers from the subcontinent.

          Coming to the points which I felt could have been improved, I felt there was an initial snag and it takes sometime before the story takes off, the second, I felt the book had awefully less space devoted for the story at the UA HQ. A little more story about the animal association could have been great. That apart no big complaints.

          Taking an offbeat subject for a novel is a double edged sword, on one front it is your promise or say ticket for glory,  on the other it’s a huge risk,  any small error and any small disconnect with the audience can potentially rob you off all the reward and make the book boring to its readers. On that front one has to accept that Deepak Kripal has indeed succeeded in his wonderful experiment. He has narrated the story brilliantly and made the book a refreshingly good read.

Do read the book, it indeed is a nice one.




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