'The Dance of Death' is a story about the trial of Daata Anand, a leader of a religious cult who is accused of murdering his followers. This trial has a peculiar effect on Kishen Das - a young law graduate who suffers from nightmares, which seem untreatable, and the Judge presiding over the case, whose family is threatened in lieu to the case.
Money has a tendency to change a person's perspective so drastically that they turn into a completely different person.Due to their delusions of grandeur, horrors are inflicted on those who might expose the persons' true self. Thus, the central theme of this tale is 'money makes the world go round'. Although, the Swami was caught red-handed in the act of murder, he continues to elude the Judge as all concrete evidence which would be considered legal vanishes in thin air.
Even though the Judge is continuously threatened, his conscientiousness prevents him from giving up despite the fact that every judge who took over the case died or left. However, the final evidence comes from surprising sources at the eleventh hour and the climax of the story is completely unexpected.
Money makes the world go round is the crux of Manna Bahadur's book 'The Dance of Death'.
A parallel theme that runs through the story is the lawlessness that prevailed during the time of emergency in India and how a rare few raised their voice against the central authority. Emergency added several more challenges in the way of the Judge who believed that his judgements should be fair and in favour of the public, which was almost nigh impossible during the Emergency.
Although predictable in a few parts, the book makes for an interesting read. It promises more than it delivers but the story is good for light reading. The story arcs are sometimes out of the ordinary but very enjoyable. The book takes up a theme common in many books but delivers it in a new way. The concept of 'Past life Regressive Therapy' which is relatively unknown in India has been taken up and expressed in an unusual way.
This is the first book written by Manna Bahadur. She is also a poet and publisher.
Title:The Dance of Death; Author:Manna Bahadur; Publisher:Penguin Books India; Price: Rs 199
Chetan Bhagat: My books are not classics, but they're not of the read-and-throw variety; they fall in the middle - they connect, have an impact
'Young turks' book: Showcasing stories of India's brightest entrepreneurs
'This Divided Island' by Samanth Subramanian is humane and harrowing