The Immortals of Meluha is the first in a trilogy of Shiva by banker turned author Amish Tripathi and it combines mythology with fantasy. The book opens in Mount Kailash, with the protagonist Shiva, a 21 year old, marijuana smoking young man. His age may make him young but he’s a grown man and the leader of his tribe, the Gunas who have been in conflict with other tribes for years,
Shiva is now faced with a decision, continue fighting for survival, or take the offer of the foreigners, aka the Meluhans to move to their country, Kashmir. He chooses to move and that changes his life in unexpected ways. Meluha is a society which is advanced, organized on caste lines, has doctors and seems better than home but is not without its problems, he soon learns.
The first night changes him and his destiny forever, a drink turns him into the “Neekanth”, who the Suryvanshis (people who live in Meluha) believe is destined to be their saviour and save them from the evil Chandravanshi (descendents of the moon).
The conflict between the two has been going on for centuries. The revelations keep coming for Shiva; he learns that most of his new friends are hundreds of years old because of a drink called Somras, made by Lord Brahma. There are also people who are born deformed called the Nagas and among the Suryvanshis there are the vikramas, the people ostracized because their deeds in a past life have marked them for suffering.
Before his new role is revealed to him, he is taken to the emperor Daksha. Shiva finds himself thrust with the role of a hero and he also finds himself grappling with love for Sati, Daksha’s daughter and a vikrama. He makes new friends, finds himself dealing with pandits, loss and leadership.
The book is one filled with action, war, dilemmas and raises several moral questions about caste, about perception, about tolerance and how lessons of a lifetime can be changed and it ends on an epic cliff-hanger.