Books in News – The Icon by R. Nandakumar is Terrific Crime Thriller with Rich Historical Glances

Published by Leadstart, ‘the Icon’ by R. Nandakumar is a notable work of fiction. It fuses history and crime thriller into one, which makes this novel unputdownable. In addition to a powerful story, R. Nandkumar’s superb narration leaves readers reeling for more. The novel shuttles between present day Pookkudi and the past years of Travancore and Tamil Nadu and in doing so the novel spurs magical realm that brims with historical charm and deep archaeological details.

The novel opens with eulogizing the river Kaveri that passes through Pookkudi, a small hamlet near Thirupurambiyan in Thiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu. The site was chosen and surveyed by the young archaeologist Ananthan Padmanabhan Thanummalayan under the Chief Paul Zacharia. Ananthan is the lead character that connects the present and past thread of the story. The hamlet Pookkudi is special, as they say:

“Our presumptions that history sleeps in this village seems to be accurate. We have just begun. But on thing can be assured. Pookkudi hamlet will be a treasure of history.”

While trenching and excavating, the team finds an icon, black one. “An icon is visible now to the heart of Ananthan and the eyes of all others. An icon of a woman in black granite.”

The discovery of the icon creates buzz in the media and the locals believe that it has something to do with some deity. However, it can only be confirmed after its carbon test and inference report, which is possibly going to take around two weeks. Meanwhile, Ananthan’s grandafather – a notable history professor – falls ill. Since there is time till the carbon dating results come, Ananthan heads to meet his grandpa. In fact it was his grandpa’s influence that nudged him to seek a career in archaeology.

Back at his home, Ananthan finds about a historical novel written by his grandfather. The novel deals with crime and murder mystery. But something is missing from the story. Now it becomes the duty of Ananthan to find out the missing cue from the story and for that he needs to delve deep in the abyss of history of South India. Well, he has an advantage of being an archaeologist.  

Undoubtedly the novel promises a rich reading experience and full of historical insights that keeps talking about dynasties like Chera, Chola, Pandya, Dravidian clan, Panas, Parayas, Uzhavas, and so on.

The novel is easy to read, with no traces of boredom and banality. This is due to 45 short chapters, this way the author made sure that the readers aren’t getting anything bulky that may squeeze their interest in the sub plots. Indeed it is a rich historical crime thriller with history of Travancore and Tamil Nadu at the back of hand.

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About the Author:

Born at Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram District of Kerala to the late teacher couple A. Ramakrishna Panicker and D. Babykkutty Amma, R. Nandakumar is a Telecommunication Engineer by profession who worked for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.

He is a playwright in Malayalam with eighteen staged and three published plays to his credit. The play Jvala Kalapam (Revolution of Flames) was bestowed with International Book Fair Award of State Children’s Literature Institute of Government of Kerala in the year 2011. He has also penned scripts for three Malayalam films and has been a facilitator of renowned rural library movement in Kerala since long back.

Nandakumar is a mother tongue activist and founder member of a vanguard organization for the development and dissemination of Malayalam language named “Aikya Malayala Prasthanam”. He continues to write for the survival of mother tongues and languages.

3 Replies to “Books in News – The Icon by R. Nandakumar is Terrific Crime Thriller with Rich Historical Glances”

  1. Really a great writer.
    Also he is one among the best RF engineers who redefined the BSNL mobile QoS. Rich vocabulary. Great nadan padal singer. Effective negotiator in conflict management. A man of principle. His blend with history, bringing out the real face of ancient Tamils’ culture, heritage, moral, human values, empowered women decisive society in his writings are noteworthy.

  2. ‘The Icon’ authored by R Nandakumar is an excellent read.The writer has deftly blended suspense fiction, history and literature so that the reader’s attention Is always riveted on the plot with so many situations in which the reader is put on tenterhooks.The final ‘Padiyettam’ ( royal adoption) elevates us to a higher plane of reading experience.

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