Ash Mistry and The Savage Fortress is the latest book from Sarwat Chadda out on March 1st and quite frankly it's a banging book and I can prove it with my review (also known as a gush fest but honest none the less) You can (and must) buy it here and bookshops in the real world too! Sarwat kindly asked me to take part in a blog tour for the book and from today for the next few Mondays he'll be popping up across the blogger-verse with his wit and wisdom. Over to the man himself:
I think I had a sudden epiphany during ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ when I realised I was cheering the bad guys. Up till then I was seriously on Indy’s side (less so Short Round, but there you go) but when there was the starving, feeble Indian villagers utterly incapable of saving themselves until the white hero turned up I was forced to look around the cinema and check that maybe, the film had actually transported my back into the 1930’s where Chinamen wore pigtails and sly Turks were busy engaged in the White Slave Trade. Perhaps there was another entrance to the cinema for ‘coloured’ and the like. This was wrong in a way that kind of stuck in my throat.
Then came the monkey brains and me saying “WTF?”
I left the cinema wondering when was the last time the world had been saved, you know, by someone not white. Nope, couldn’t think of any. Maybe something smaller, save the country? City? Village?
Mowgli. He was the only one I could come up with. Respect to the little guy in the red nappy but there was a feeling this just was not good enough. I shook my fist towards the storm swept skies and swore, I SWORE, one day, a little brown kid was going to save the world. Remember, this was before the days of Will Smith.
Fast forward quarter of a century and now we have ‘Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress’. As well as a little brown kid on world-saving duty this is my riposte to that Indiana Jones movie. Here the worshippers of Kali and the good guys and the villain is a evil archaeologist.
Basically, Kali is cool. You want some serious god help, why not call on the gal with the bloodthirsty gaze and the skull-necklace? C’mon, you really think anyone is going to get in her way? If you spell Kali backwards you get BADASS. I would put Kali up against the entire Greek Pantheon and there’d be nothing left on Olympus but a few bloodstained togas and maybe a broken harp.
And Kali is just the beginning (and the end, if we want to get all metaphysical about it). Indian mythology is vast, intense and current. You wander around Varanasi today and it’s like being in a fantasy world of temples and holy men and burning ghats. The city of Jaisalmer could be straight out of the pages of Sinbad. It’s a cliché but it is magical. Its heroes and villains are as awesome as Jason or Thor. I love the Greek Myths and the Norse legends. But there is so much more out there. There are ten-headed demons, immortal serpents and there are gods, glorious and terrifying. That’s what I’m bringing. A new breed of bad guy and definitely a new type of hero.
Ultimately ‘Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress’ is about a boy learning to kick ass very, very hard. And what better a teacher could there be than the goddess of death and destruction herself, Kali?
EPIC! Thanks to Sarwat for the post and also for offering a giveaway!
The prize is one SIGNED copy of Ash Mistry and The Savage Fortress and is UK only. The contest ends on 23rd of March so get those entries in!!
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