‘Taking the Taj’ presents an amazing work by Shivjeet Kullar, a thriller published by the Amaryllis, surrounding the beautiful wonder of India, the Taj Mahal.The story begins with the Taj Mahal being taken over and wired with explosives, by a group of terrorists belonging to the Free People Liberation Army, demanding the release of the notorious terrorist Abu Ali, who is being imprisoned and sentenced to be hanged. The terrorists take some of the tourists at Taj as hostages, including eleven CEO’s from around the world, asking for their demand to be met soon.
The situation gets handled by the team of left wing commander Amarjeet Singh. The team learns that even if they release the prisoner, the leads of the terrorist group who is a couple both diagnosed with cancer, plans to destroy the Taj so as to die together in the monument of love. But their plan fails when the lady is shot by a sniper which leads to a series of events. Among the hostages taken, Vir Singh, a young historian, strives to unlock a secret code on the walls of the Taj, derived from a diary he acquired, of an architect of the Taj Mahal. Later on, the historian decodes the secret which remarks that, beneath the crypt of Taj Mahal, lies a secret passage built by Shahjahan unknown to all, which would lead to a garden from the other side of the river. The author presents a beautiful shift from present day to Shahjahan’s time, throughout the book.
In the end, Abu Ali is released and the terrorists leaves, killing four of the hostages, with no damage to the Taj. The last page of the book, narrates the clever plot where Abu Ali & his people, dies by a cruiser missile, sent by Amarjeet’s team, who interprets their location by a wireless device called ‘tweeter. The terrorists are gone for good, and the Taj Mahal survives, like it had did all these centuries.
The book had admiringly studied the inception of the Taj Mahal, the wonderful monument ever, plotting every character’s tale in detail, and describing how human nature turns to do deadly deeds. The realistic content of the book is indeed rare and original.
Reviewed by Ayisha Salim