Books admin June 20, 2022

Synopsis of “The Harbinger"

The story takes place hundred and fifty years ago on a distant island in the Atlantic. Family feud with his father has convinced Sheldon to relocate on a distant island in the North Atlantic. Sheldon and his family are new comers on the small French island off the coast of Morocco. From being a carpenter, Sheldon transforms himself into a respectable rancher and entrepreneur. Though an Englishman, he manages to befriend the predominantly French inhabitants of the island.
The small island is run by an egoistic Frenchman named Jean Dominique. He keeps the residents of the island happy with the wealth acquired from a pirate chief. The Mayor brings in a French opera team for the Carnival which is celebrated every year with plenty of fanfare. Life couldn’t be sweeter for the islanders when a stranger arrives and turns everything upside down. However, even before the arrival of this stranger, islanders get into a brawl with the manager of the only distillery on the island. The brawl starts with an embarrassing revelation that sheds light on darker and at the same time hilarious aspect of life on the tiny island. Consequently, a quarrel develops among the residents of the island. But soon, this trivial issue is sidelined by ominous events having far greater impact upon the lives of every single islander. Everything starts to crumble around them with the arrival of the stranger. One after another, disasters strike. Sheldon suspects that Hutchinson is not who he says he is, but he cannot prove it. Then the lead singer of the opera team disappears; eventually her dead body is found next to Sheldon’s ranch, making Sheldon the chief suspect of this murder. Time runs out on the islanders before Hutchinson and his men can be apprehended. Disasters of epic proportion strike the island, making the islanders helpless victims of forces they cannot control.

Excerpts from “The Harbinger”

When the Red Ensign was replaced by the Jolly Rogers Hammerhead gave his next command and this time Finch shouted at the main gunner, “Fire in the hole!” From the main gunner came the response, “Aye aye!” and soon afterwards a loud thunder from the cannon was heard. It was a warning shot across the bow. The captain of the chase had heeded the warning, he gave the order to furl his sails and stop the oarsmen. The ‘Indian Summer’ began slowing down. Hammerhead moved towards the stern of the deck where the helm was and beckoned to Estevao to steer the ship closer to the chase so that it would run parallel alongside the chase; then he ordered his twenty oarsmen to stop rowing. He ordered all hands on the deck and informed them that they were going to board the chase. Apart from the twenty oarsmen Hammerhead had altogether seventy four men working for him and all of them assembled on the deck at the Captain’s command. Hammerhead chose fifteen of them to accompany him to the ‘Indian Summer’ the rest were told to man the twenty cannons he had onboard and be prepared to fire if he gave the order. When the two vessels were twenty feet apart, Hammerhead gave the order to lower the gangplanks. His quarter master was to stay onboard with rest of the crew having the approval of his Captain to do whatever was necessary if any unpleasant incident occurred. 

     Hammerhead was generally a cheerful sailor. But those who knew him were aware of the cunning and ruthless beast that hid under his smiling face. In life there were very few things he was afraid of; against all odds he would survive in the most impossible situations. On one such occasion he killed a hammerhead shark with his dagger though his right leg had severely been mauled by the shark. That’s how he earned his nickname among his crew as Captain Hammerhead.

     Hammerhead allowed his men to secure the deck before he stepped onto the deck of the ‘Indian Summer’. The Captain of ‘Indian Summer’ was a fairly tall English sailor with dirty blond hair and a hardened face. Though he wasn’t as tall as Hammerhead but his physical attributes clearly indicated that most men wouldn’t stand a chance against this robustly built Englishman in a hand to hand combat. Hammerhead had to admire this man’s physical stature; he sees him as his equal. Very politely he bowed and greeted the Captain by saying, “Captain Hammerhead at your service!”

     The Captain of ‘Indian Summer’ was taken aback by the courtesy of this pirate chief. He returned the courtesy with a slight nod, “Captain Adam J. Griffiths! I would assume that you have a proper English name.”

     “Of course, of course,” Hammerhead sniffed the air, cleared his throat and said, “Captain Howe G. Dawson.” He took some moments and resumed, “How many men do you have onboard Captain?”

     “Twenty two sailors and ten passengers.”

       “Are your men armed?”

“I have one rifle and a pistol in my quarter, that’s all.”

Again Hammerhead smiled at Captain Griffiths and reassured him, “Don’t worry my dear Captain, I won’t leave you unarmed in these dangerous waters. Would you be kind enough to reveal to me exactly what kind of consignment your vessel is carrying?”

  “Spices and fabrics like the muslin.”

“Oh my Captain I don’t intend to be rude with another Englishman but my men tell me that you have at least three wooden chests in your vessel. Have they lied to me Captain?”

“Are you the man who commandeered a British naval vessel a few years back?”

“Actually it was around same time seven years ago. I was the navigator; I, my faithful buddy Finch and a few brave sailors decided to go rogue. The reward was simply unbelievable. However, we kept the red ensign. After all, you can’t give up being an Englishman so easily, can you?” After this the pirate chief burst out in laughter.

     “What happened to the Captain and his other crews?”

The pirate chief made a cross in the air with his forefinger and solemnly said, “God bless those beautiful departed souls.”

“How did you manage to kill them all?”

“We didn’t have the heart to kill them, the sharks did. In the dead of the night we just gagged most of them, tied them up and threw them overboard one at a time. The mushroom took care of the Captain and his first mate.”

“They are looking for you; if they find you and your men you’ll all walk the gallows.”

“Oh Captain please, please, stop! Almost every night I’ve nightmares,” he paused for a second and smiled before resuming, “and guess what, I enjoy them. Now let’s talk about those wooden caskets,” while saying this Hammerhead kept inspecting the condition of his derringer.


Sheldon said to the Mayor, “You know that I believe in temperance, don’t you?”

    “Oh I don’t know why I forget this.” The Mayor smiled at Sheldon and then told Jules to give his guest a glass of grape juice. Then he looked back at his guest and said, “So, did you enjoy your dinner?”

     “Like it always happens, Monsieur Jules and his wife Darcy never fail their customers.” 

“Oh yes, yes, they are two fine French entrepreneurs. By the way did you have any other business at the town?” the Mayor already knew that the Sheldons had been to the school, he was curious why they had visited the school. 

     “Our supplies needed to be replenished so we went to your grocery store.” Sheldon had no intention to share with the Mayor his business with the school headmistress; the Mayor was disappointed but smiled at his guest and said, “You are most welcome to my little store any time of the year.”

     Both of them gave a pause to their conversation and sipped their drinks. Sheldon had an urge to laugh at his host but he remained well composed when he asked, “This school, is it a profitable enterprise?”

     The Mayor stared at his guest for a few moments telling himself, “Now you talk about the school, you English man!” but said to his guest, “Of course it’s profitable.”

     “How does she make profit with only seventy students?”

The Mayor burst out in laughter and said, “How do you know so much about the school?”

“An English man has his ways.”

     This time with little bit of disgust in his expression he said, “Yes, yes, an English man always has a way to dig out every little laundry.” He paused for a second and then resumed, “It’s profitable because the government of France bears the cost of running it, thanks to the policies of our great Bonaparte.”

     “The Bonaparte has done at least one good thing, I have to admit.”

“What do you mean, the Bonaparte has done at least one good thing? He has done many good things for France and for Europe.”

     “In Europe he has caused nothing but destructions and chaos until our good old Nelson showed him the bars.”

     “Your Nelson was lucky.”

     “In the battle field luck does not favor the incompetent.”

     “If Bonaparte’s cannons had not failed him you would have seen a completely different picture my friend.”

     “Bonaparte’s cannons didn’t fail him, he failed the cannons. He didn’t do his homework before the battle. Had he studied the battle field at Waterloo prior to making his advance he would have known what was to come. The English army was, as always the case, better trained and more disciplined. Apart from that they chose that particular spot for confronting Bonaparte’s army for a very sound reason.”

     “Do you want to say that Nelson knew Bonaparte’s cannon balls wouldn’t work?”

“Of course, it was a calculated English strategy.”

Synopsis of “Forbidden Affair : Tale from Arakan"

For centuries, Rahim Mollah’s ancestors lived peacefully with their Buddhist neighbours in the village of Aung Syke, Myanmar. After the 9/11 incident, the change that took place in the world also affected this little village. Soon the Rohingyas took on the role of the Jews of Nazi Germany in the late thirties while many Buddhist monks and the Myanmar army played the role of the Nazi Party. In this situation, the entire Mollah clan became a helpless victim of the genocidal intention of two Buddhist monks, Than Kin and Win Thura. While these two monks incited the Buddhists against the Rohingyas, the top generals of Tatmadaw had their own plans to evict all Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar. The code name of the drive was “Operation Blood Red Greetings”. In order to prepare the ground they organized a clandestine operation against a little fishing village in Maung Dao. In the meantime, Su and Rafiq got separated from each other by the turbulent events that were to change their lives forever. Only a few months back, secretly they uttered their matrimonial vows in a Buddhist temple, but their parents had no idea of it. Su happened to be the only child of Colonel and later Brigadier Lee Bu Sun who was placed in command of the military units in the state of Rakhain. He was the commander of the thirty third light infantry division, spearheading the drive against the Rohingya Muslims in the name of fighting terror. In the novel Su played the role of a savior, saving the lives of many innocent Rohingyas from the clasp of his father. Eventually, she was forced to flee from her country and ended up in Istanbul, Turkey, as an asylum seeker with her husband Rafiq.

Excerpts from “Forbidden Affair: A Tale from Arakan”

The war game began with artillery exchanges, and then the armored and infantry units of the red team began advancing towards the green team’s position. According to the plan, the red team was supposed to halt its push five hundred yards from the camp of the green team, and the red team did so unfailingly. Troubles began from that point onward. The fighter jets and helicopter gunships of the air units were to bomb the positions of the green team before the red team would begin its final push to take over the enemy positions. But when it was time for bombardment from air by the fighter jets and helicopter gunships, no more than four F-7 fighter jets were visible at the scene. They left the scene after releasing their bombs, and the red team thought that was the planned assault from air. So, the moment the fighter jets had left, the red team commenced its assault against the enemy positions. For almost fifteen minutes the green team defended their positions. But they couldn’t hold their fort for more than fifteen minutes because of the overwhelming superiority of the red team in number and weapons. Right after the red team achieved its objective, the main body of the fighter planes and helicopters arrived at the scene and started releasing bombs and missiles against the positions of the green team which was by then held by the red team. The red team tried their best to halt the air assault by displaying their red flags, but in the confusion of battle, they were ignored by the air units. If this were to happen for real, the red team would have been wiped out by its own air wing. Though this incident became the cause of much curiosity and humor among the guests, nonetheless, the chief guest felt that serious implications of this failure warranted an investigation. Most military officers held Lee responsible for such grotesque failure. However, investigation which followed found that because of technical reasons, the main part of the air wing could not reach the battle scene timely, and responsibility for that failure actually fell upon the shoulders of the air wing, which was indirectly under the command of Major General Ko Lay. But of course, it would be seen as sheer arrogance if any officer uttered this fact. So, they found it much more convenient to blame Brigadier Lee for this shortcoming.



Hin Kao’s Buddhist temple was the largest and the most important Temple in Ruthi Dong District. So, every now and then the monks and priests of the surrounding areas congregated in the temple. Than Kin started this tradition. Than kin presided over the meetings with permission from Hin Kao. Sometimes, police officers, district commissioners and regional commanders of Tatmadaw would be invited. In a meeting like that, Brigadier Lee Bu Sun and Ban La were invited. By ten in the morning, both guests arrived at the temple. Than Kin welcomed them and escorted them to Hin Kao for his blessings. When the formalities of the blessings were over, as usual, at one part of the temple, the meeting began. The meeting was being presided over by Than Kin. Right at the beginning of the meeting, the monks described their experiences with the Rohingyas. 

To convey his anxieties, a priest from a neighboring temple said, “The way the Rohingya population has been increasing everywhere in the state of Rakhain, we fear that a time will come when even the neighboring Magway and Chin states will also be occupied by them. Of course, they have taken over the Rakhain state much earlier. In future, our monks will no longer get donations. They’ll have to migrate to Yangon.”

Lee stopped the priest and hurled a question, “When did the Rohingyas take over Rakhain by force? They are majority only in a handful of villages. Exaggeration is one of your bad habits. This only makes the situation more complicated.” 

After pausing, when Lee looked at Ban La, in a casual manner Ban La responded, “I have data which shows that in many places these Rohingyas have been spreading like rats.” 

At this point, Lee said, It would have been better if you could specifically point out in which places the Rohingyas have been spreading like rats.”

With a smile on his lips Ban La said, “I don’t have that list right now. Later sometime it can be managed. What really matters is that if it goes on like this, a time will come when Rohingyas will become majority, this is not a mere speculation, it is real.”

A number of ceiling fans were running inside the temple. Even after that, the atmosphere was quite humid as more than hundred people had congregated over there. There were thin lines of sweat on everyone’s forehead, albeit none paid attention to it. A few ordinary villagers were also invited to the meeting. One by one, the monks and the priests, described the difficulties they had been facing because of the Rohingyas. Then it was the turn of the villagers. A resident of Mine Pu informed how Rohingyas stole brinjals from his field. Another resident of Mine Pu complained that cauliflowers from his field were stolen by the Rohingyas. A villager from Than Chaung said Rohingyas had stolen bottlegourds from his field. A resident from Kangri Chaung said his papayas were stolen. Hence, from these descriptions of the villagers, it seemed that the Rohingyas were about to deplete the entire state of Rakhain of resources. However, none could specifically mention the name or address of any Rohingya who was involved in such burglaries. When Lee attracted attention to this fact, finally a villager from Aung Syke stood up; he lodged a complaint that with his own eyes he witnessed Rahim Mollah’s elder son, Karim, stealing tomatoes from his field. When this villager was asked why he didn’t stop him, he could not come up with any satisfactory reply. 

At last, a villager from Koi Tan, a village to the west of Aung Syke, stood up. He didn’t come up with complaints like potatoes or cauliflowers being stolen. His complaint was much more serious. Almost five feet six-inch-tall, this skinny man looked like he had lost everything before coming to the meeting. He had dark patches around his eyes; most probably it was the result of sleepless nights which eventually made him look like a corpse. The whole congragation stared at him, waiting to listen to what this ghost-like figure had to say. He began by stating his name, address at Koi Tan, and a brief description of his family background. He had rice fields in Koi Tan. He also owned a grocery store at Koi Tan Bazaar. He was a father of two sons and two daughters. His two sons were below eighteen. One of his daughters worked for an NGO, the other one was a student of class ten, in a government school in the same village. 

Even before he could describe the incident, he had an emotional breakdown. Those who were sitting around him, stroked his head and back, in order to console him. Then the man began the tale of his ordeal. With a depressed expression, Gurtej said that a month earlier his elder daughter Hayma went missing. She could not be found at the NGO office where she used to work. After the search went on for a month, she was seen with a Rohingya youth in the same village. After interrogation, Hayma disclosed that willingly she got married with that Rohingya youth. She then addressed herself as Halima. A priest named Win Thura who had arrived from Mandalay exploded in anger and said, “Can we remain indifferent even after this? Terrorists stare at our wives and daughters like a pack of hungry wolves. If things continue like this, a time will come when these Rohingyas will take over the entire country.”

After requesting Win Thura to calm down, Lee said to Gurtej, “When did you last talk to your daughter?”


“What did she tell you?”

“I tried to persuade Hayma to return home; she wouldn’t listen to me. She is determined to live with that Rohingya youth. People of our neighborhood have put pressure on the youth’s family, but it’s not working. My daughter has been spoiling all efforts to get her back.”

“Since your daughter is responsible for this entire episode, the administration cannot do anything.”

When Lee had finished this statement, angrily Win Thura said to Lee, “After the Maung Dao incident, we expected that Tatmadaw would take necessary steps to address this situation. As of today we have not seen anything like that.” 

“Tatmadaw’s responsibility is to provide Security to the state. Preventing theft, kidnapping, unpleasant affairs, is not the duty of Tatmadaw. As far as the unfortunate incident at Maung Dao is concerned, Tatmadaw was ready to take steps in this very month. Unfortunately, at the last moment it was postponed. Why it was postponed, my colleague Brigadier Ban La can tell you about it more precisely.”

Synopsis of “The Elenauts”

The novel opens with an image of the protagonist, Cindy Mclaughlin, sky diving from an aircraft. Her feelings, her attitude towards life, and her relation with her flying car’s onboard computer, Stellar has been portrayed in the first chapter. Trevor McLaughlin is Cindy’s husband; he is another major character of this novel; his profession and views have also been presented at the beginning of the novel. This adventure loving couple comes in touch with another major character of the story, Michael Stewart, a visionary and daring entrepreneur, who is also the owner and CEO of the Space Race. The company has erected a structure eighty miles tall in order to lift the elenauts (Elevated Astronauts)to the lower orbit, instead of using the conventional launch vehicles. This is about to change the rules of the game to conquer the space, and therefore, Michael and his company become the targets of those who are about to lose the race as a result of successful execution of the Project Elenaut.   

Excerpts from “The Elenauts”

Cindy looked through the window, at fifteen hundred feet, low white clouds beckoned to her to come out of her shell. Cindy wished she had a pair of wings; all day she would have played with the clouds. She heard that inside the clouds, it was very humid and uncomfortably warm. She heard it from a friend who flew hand glider from the Sierra Mountains. Often, he would describe to her how it felt to be flying with the clouds and the kites, drifting high up in the troposphere.

     Cindy’s flying vehicle, XJ-9200, was equipped with the latest version of the facial recognition software. Hence, the vehicle’s operating system was able to read the facial expressions of its driver or the passengers. Cameras embedded in the cabin were connected to the onboard computer with the help of the radio signals. This way, the system could sense if the driver or the passengers were in any kind of physical or mental distress. Once it had gained the necessary inputs from the sensors, the vehicle’s onboard computer would suggest to the driver or the passengers various options to reduce their stress. The AI chips enabled the computer to have intelligent conversation with the riders, at the same time, providing information if they needed it.

     Cindy had been in a trancelike state when she heard Stellar’s soothing voice saying, “Cindy, you look depressed; may I ask why?”

     “No Stellar, you have read my expression incorrectly. I was a bit philosophical,” snapped Cindy.

“The term philosophical is the adjective from of the noun philosophy, a subject dealing with almost everything in life, am I right?”

     “Yes you are, now what do I have to do?” asked Cindy contemptuously.

     “Will you please tell me what you have been thinking?”asked Stellar.

     “I haven’t been thinking, I was just enjoying the view outside.”

     “You love the sky, don’t you?”

     “Yes I do, but not without the ground I stand on. Without the solid ground underneath my feet, it’s kinda frightening,” with a smile on her lips, replied Cindy.

     “Man has always been afraid of the height,” remarked Stellar.

     “Yet man has managed to conquer the height, hasn’t he? By the way, why do you say ‘man has been afraid’? I’m a woman.”

     “If I said women, you would say, there were men in this world too.”

     “You should have used the term people.”

     “But that’s not how the proverbs go.”

     “When these proverbs found their usage, men ruled the world; the world has changed a lot since then.”

     “That’s true. However, in language, there’s also a thing called tradition. Besides, anything that doesn’t sound good, is usually avoided.”

     “Now tell me what you have on your mind, Stellar.”

     “I just want you to enjoy the ride; shall I remove the roof over your head?” suggested the onboard computer.

     Cindy thought about it; she glanced at the temperature readings on the display. Outside the vehicle it showed sixty degrees Fahrenheit. 

     “Alright, clear the roof,” said Cindy a bit casually.

     As the roof slid open, the first thing which rattled her senses was the humming noise of the two turbofan jets, providing thrust to the vehicle. The cool fresh air instantly filled the cabin; Cindy felt much better.

     “Thanks Stellar, it really feels good,” said Cindy.

     “I know it does; it makes me happy, knowing my owner is comfortable,” responded Stellar.

     The vehicle shuddered, as it fell into air pockets.

     “This is what I love the most when flying. It feels like a ride at the amusement park. This aspect of the journey sets it apart from the normal drive on the road. A drive on the raod is monotonous, it’s boring.”

     “Would you like me to dive or climb steeply?” asked Stellar.

     “No, no, I don’t need it; I’ve had enough of it today when I jumped from the aircraft.”

     “How did you feel when you stood at the door of the aircraft, Cindy?”

     “I cannot convey it to you; it’s like describing an elephant to a blind man, or talking about music to a deaf. In the end, you’re just a machine, Stellar. I’m sorry for being so arrogantly blunt.”

     “It’s alright Cindy, I’m used to this kind of remarks.”


Bob was aware of the danger from the fusion reactor; however, he didn’t want to demoralize the spirit of the elenauts. He kept quiet; he needed to be certain of the problem with the power source. He turned his attention to Cindy and said, “Mrs. McLaughlin, please brief us about the situation right now up there.”

     “Power has been restored, though I’m not sure for how long,” replied Cindy, and then added, “right now, mentally and physically, we’re all ready to return.”

     “Don’t worry, the power will last as long as the solar panels are turned in the right direction, and the sun is not blocked from the station for long. Now I want you to run the diagnostic tools for the main power source. It’ll take approximately fifteen to twenty minutes.”

     “When do you want us to begin our descent?” asked Cindy.

     “Oh yeah, that’s another pressing issue. You sound homesick’ don’t you feel safe up there?”

     “We just don’t want to get stuck , in case something happens to the shaft. Besides, now we have a member with broken ribs. He needs surgery, and Mark alone cannot perform the surgery. We have the facility up here, but not the necessary manpower.”

     “For your information, I think half of your humanoid associates are licensed surgeons. Where is your patient right now?” asked Bob.

     “In the clinic,” replied Cindy.

     “Shift him to the elevator’s clinic. You are going to start the descent right after you get the diagnostic report on the condition of the main power source.”

     Cindy decided to stay in the bridge for the diagnostic report, while asking Trevor to shift Andrew and the belongings of the elenauts to the elevator.

     The artificial gravity had been turned on after the accident in the assembly plant. On a wheeled hospital bed, Andrew was taken to the elevator by Anna and one of the humanoids. The rest of the elenauts began packing their luggage for the return journey.

     As soon as the report was in, Cindy passed it down to the ground control. The reactor was still running, and no problem with the reactor’s operating system was found. The steam turbine malfunctioned due to a crack in one of the turbine blades. In order to fix it, Mother recommended replacing the entire turbine wheel. To Cindy, the recommendation didn’t make any sense. 

     She said, “Bob, why do we have to replace the whole turbine wheel, why don’t we just replace the broken blade?”

     “It’s simpler than replacing just one single blade, the new wheel comes with a new set of blades attached to it. Placing the blades on the wheel is a complicated task for it’s the most delicate part of the turbine. The angle of the blade has to be consistent with the other blades, there’s no room for discrepancy. Apart from that, the blades are fused with the wheel to prevent unwarranted vibrations. In other words, the blades come with the wheel.” At this point Bob paused for a moment, and continued with a sigh, “I’m not really troubled by the broken turbine for I know none of you, including the robots you have, are qualified to do it. Even if you could, we simply don’t have the time; it would take hours even if the robots were to do it.”

     “Then why do you look so petrified? Let’s just get the hell out of here,” exclaimed Cindy.

     “The ramp has to be detached from the decompression chamber, or else the quake could bring down the station along with the shaft.”

     “And what’s so complicated here? Before boarding the elevator we’ll retract the ramp remotely from the decompression chamber.”

     “And for that you need power to the ramp Cindy.”

     “Are you trying to say the ramp isn’t connected to the solar panels?”

     “Yes, the ramp gets its power from the main power source.”

     “I don’t understand why you people designed it this way.”

     “The ramp requires plenty of power, it would use up half of the stored power in just a few minutes, and the ramp is just one of the features of the station requiring substantial amount of power. When you re-align the thrusters or the shield, they require plenty of power too. Solar panels we have right now cannot produce that kind of power in a sustainable manner. Hence, it’s designed to support only the basic requirements such as life support, lightings etc.”

     “So, how do we retract the ramp from the decompression chamber?”

     “You can’t retract it from there without any power source connected to it. You have to retract it manually from the gate of the station. There are two wheels on either side of the gate, they have to be turned simultaneously.”

     “It means someone has to stay behind, I’m sorry, not one but two people have to stay behind since the wheels have to be turned simultaneously,” said Cindy in a clearly upset tone.

     “Yes, and there’s more to it ____________,”

     Cindy would not let Bob finish when she exclaimed, “More to it! What did you guys get us into, Bob?”

     In order to appease, Bob raised his arms, and in a conciliatory tone said, “Calm down, please calm down Mrs. McLaughlin. No one plans for accidents, accidents are just part of life. How you handle them, tells what you’re made of.”

     “Enough of your motivating lectures Bob, now tell us what else we have to do.”




Synopsis of “Ismarus”

“Ismarus” is a historical fiction named after the protagonist, and the context of the novel is the ancient Thrace, around 300 BC. From the very beginning, the clash between the protagonist and the antagonist has been portrayed with a clear understanding of the mechanics behind this clash of interest. Tegrios is a despotic king who has a son named Ismarus and a nephew named Eumoplus. Tegrios loves both of them, however, because of his poor judgment, he ends up favoring his beloved nephew against his own son. Though Tegrios was short sighted, the same cannot be attributed to his queen Calysto. In this novel, Calysto has been portrayed as the voice of reason and benevolence. In the protagonist’s life, his father’s despotic and uncaring attitude was balanced by his mother’s deep wisdom and motherly tenderness.

The despotic nature of Tegrios made him view his son’s humanity as insolence, eventually disowning him, and depriving him of his birthright. Eumoplus saw this as an opportunity to fulfill his secret ambition. He conspired, and successfully had Tegrios assassinated. The evidence contrived by Eumoplus suggested that Ismarus was the perpetrator of the heinous crime. Hence, Ismarus had not only been deprived of the throne, after the assassination of his father, he found himself running from the law of the land as well. 

When Ismarus was banished, Calysto abandoned her husband and chose self exile with his unfortunate son. They found shelter in Dacia, the neighboring kingdom. This small kingdom was ruled by a benevolent ruler named Resus. Eventually, Scorilo, the king of Bastarnae, was also added to the list of Ismarus’ allies. Meanwhile, Ismarus was chosen as the most suitable suitor for Resus’ beautiful daughter, Cassandra. In the side line, we see Decebalus, the crown prince of Bastarnae, getting married to Rositsa, the most beautiful lady of the land. Istros, wife of Resus’ son, Sophocles, and Rositsa were cousins. Hence, the princes of Bastarnae and Dacia, and their wives, became close friends of Ismarus, aiding him in his fight against Eumoplus.

In the meantime, Eumoplus married his long time lover Phyllis, a lady with a notoriously wicked disposition. After their marriage, Eumoplus and Phyllis began their drive to crush Ismarus, and subdue his allies with help from Phyllis’ elder brother Sadalas. Eumoplus employed an informer to create troubles for Ismarus, and if possible to assassinate Ismarus. In time, the wicked plot of Dardanos was exposed. This made Eumoplus contrive another plan to invade Calabresi, a province of Dacia. 

The events culminated in a classic military showdown between Ismarus, aided by his allies, and Eumoplus who was being aided by his huge army. During the battles that followed, Ismarus was given the news of his son’s birth. This led to the climax of the story with Ismarus, Eumoplus, and Phyllis, all losing their lives under different circumstances. 

Napoleon once said, ‘Give me a good mother, and I’ll conquer the world.’ No, I’m not a feminist, nor a misogynist. I’m not for conquering what does not belong to me. Nonetheless, what he implied in this statement can never be underestimated; it was true yesterday, it’s true today, and it will always remain true. The proverb, the hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world, is also very relevant here. Whatever Ismarus was, the hand of his mother was behind it. Calysto taught his son what really mattered in life, love, honesty, sincerity, kindness. She taught her the actual meaning of honorable existence. This is the central theme of the novel. Hence, the proverb goes, behind every great man, there’s a great woman.


Excerpts from “Ismarus”

Suddenly, three strangers appeared at the scene when Resus was busy consulting with his counselors. Obviously, the three figures were exhausted by their long journey to the court of Resus. The messenger of Resus had travelled to the court of Odrysia on numerous occasions; he recognized who the three strangers were. Subsequently, he conveyed this to Resus quietly. No one could tell from their attires that two of the strangers were actually members of Odrysia’s royal family. However, something in them conveyed to everyone that they were no ordinary people. They stood there waiting for the King’s reply after addressing Resus just as it was the tradition among the nobilities of the time. Resus had earlier heard of the tragic demise of the King of Odrysia, nevertheless, he asked why the two noble guests chose to come to him. The jester wanted to be heard; with this intention he came forward and asked permission from Resus as he was ready to begin his tale. After listening to what the jester had to say, the King and his courtiers could not help but condemn Eumoplus in the harshest manner possible for the crime he had committed. The courtiers also made offensive remarks about his lecherous character when Resus stopped them and added, “That he was greedy and highly unethical we already knew, but now we’ve come to know that he’s also a traitor and murderer.” Resus took this opportunity to emphasize that a monarch was always a monarch, even when he had lost his throne to a traitor. Then, very politely Resus asked his guests how he could come to their assistance. 

     “We’ve come to you for a safe haven, knowing that it is not in your hands to bring to justice the perpetrator of such heinous crime. Nonetheless, for the sake of humanity, by providing shelter you could surely reduce our hardship to some extent. Today we are the victims; tomorrow it may happen to you and your children for no one knows what tomorrow has in store for him. If you do not show kindness to us, we’ll have to go somewhere else for a safe refuge.” When she was done talking Calysto held her son’s hand and helplessly stood before Resus, awaiting his judgment.

     A few moments passed in silence and then Resus told his servants to make arrangements so that the royal guests could sit down and rest. When the guests were seated he took a deep breath and said, “My queen, if we provide shelter to you and your son, Eumoplus will most certainly create problems for us. Therefore, your stay here has to be conditional. First of all, you cannot go out of the castle during your stay. We’ll try our best to keep it from Eumoplus. Secondly, you cannot leave my kingdom without my consent. I don’t think it’ll be difficult for you to abide by these terms.”

     Once he received Calysto’s approval, Resus told his servants to escort his guests to their private chambers inside the castle. They spent three months under the custody of Resus. During these three months Resus was overwhelmed by the gentle behavior, dedication, sense of responsibility, wit and honesty of Ismarus.



  “The call of the nightingale, it saddens my heart. I feel like it is the spirit of a poor man who has lost everything,” with a sigh Phyllis said to his King.

    Eumoplus smiled as he said, “One man’s nightmare is another man’s dream.”

    “Do you think it could be the spirit of Tegrios?” 

   “It could very well be, but do I hear my queen feeling sorry for my enemy?”

     “Don’t worry my King, my heart belongs to you. But I can’t help feeling sad for the man you vanquished,” reassuringly Phyllis said to Eumoplus.

     “I have the same kind of feeling for the poor prince you vanquished before coming here, my dear. Now tell me, should I give up the throne for the vanquished man so that it soothes my queen’s bleeding heart?”

     The echoes of Phyllis giggling travelled from the balcony to the garden, making the spirit of the night spread its wings in the night sky. For a brief moment, Phyllis noticed the creature disappearing into the night to an unknown destination. She had this urge to beg to the nightly visitor to give her company; in the end, she had to be satisfied with the company of her partner in crime. 


Synopsis of the “Fear Not the Spirit”

Zahra knows if she cannot bring out the predatory instincts in the two adolescent tigers, they won’t make it in the wild. As the drama unfolds Pesky exceeds what was expected of him, saving the life of the man who once saved his when he was an orphan cub. (pitch) Mubarak Al Mansur is the new District Forest Officer of the Shoronkhola Forest Station in the magnificent Sundarbans. Soon after he lands at the forest range, he organizes a raid against the most dreaded band of poachers. Mubarak and his men rescue two helpless tiger cubs whose mother has been killed by Ya and his men. During the clash, two of the poachers get killed, but Ya manages to escape. Subsequently, Ya vows vengeance. Ya stalks the forest officer and his family. Meanwhile, Mubarak and his family raise the two cubs at the forest station. Mubarak’s children, particularly his daughter Zahra bonds with the two orphan cubs. Zahra names one of them Habhati who devours his food like there’s no tomorrow and the smaller cub Pesky. The cubs grow up accepting Zahra as their mother. Mubarak explains to Zhara the challenge ahead of them. They plan to release the two adolescent tigers in their natural habitat. With the help of her university friend, Zahra builds a device to train Habhati and Pesky to hunt. The risk of failure makes Mubarak step back from his plan. When Mubarak decides to hand over the adolescent tigers to the Gazipur Safari Park, Zahra protests. Despite objection from Zahra, Mubarak hands over Habhati and Pesky to the Gazipur Safari Park. At the park, Habhati gets into a fight with the resident lions and receives fatal injuries. Eventually, Habhati dies at the Mirpur Zoo and Mubarak brings Pesky back to the forest station for releasing him into the wild. In the meantime, the bandit chief Ya sets up a trap to kill the forest officer and the ensuing confrontation decides their fate.

Excerpt from FNTS

The closest village was roughly thirty miles from the spot. The villagers were mostly poachers and honey collectors, albeit a few of them were farmers. The Shoronkhola Bazaar, a transit point for the poachers and the honey collectors, stood on the banks of the River Bhola. The poachers would store their bloody collections in the flimsy wooden hovels of the bazaar before transporting them to the urban markets across the country. Often, the poachers remained in the jungle for weeks or months at a time. They wouldn’t return until the collection had reached the target set before getting into the deadly forest. This season, Ya’s gang boasted well over fifteen men. Usually, it hardly ever exceeded ten. With extra hands, Ya was determined to take care of the threat which had been hampering the gang’s clandestine activities for the last few months. They set a trap to capture or kill the tigress. As bait, the poachers left the carcass of a goat on a net hidden underneath a layer of dry leaves to lure the tigress to the spot. The stench could be detected from quite a distance. At any moment, the hunter which had by then become the hunted, would arrive at the scene. Ya checked the time on his android mobile. It was already quarter to five. They had been waiting since two in the morning. “Most probably she isn’t around,” Mintu, Ya’s trusted lieutenant whispered impatiently. “If she had been around, couldn’t have missed the stench of the bait,” he added. “We still have more than an hour before dawn,” remarked Ya. “Usually, tigresses don’t eat their prey too close to their cubs. They know the danger of it. Perhaps we should relocate the trap away from the canal,” said Mintu. Ya remained silent for a while, and then said, “Alright, let’s reset the trap deep inside the jungle. Upon saying this, he turned on the built-in torch and gestured to his men who had been on the ground, waiting for the signal to pull the rope. Ya and Mintu were on a thick bough of a Sundari tree. Among his men, Mamun stepped forward to remove the carcass, and just then, like a lightning strike, the loud growl froze everyone. In seconds, the Bengal tigress had Mamun under it, with a death bite on his neck. The next few moments, Mamun’s shrill cry continued until Ya fired his rifle. The crack of the rifle echoed in the dark forest causing ripples in the air. Apparently, their prey had sensed their presence, and waited for the moment to strike. Ya’s scope was fitted with infra-red sight. He had no difficulty aiming his rifle at the target. The shot ripped through the animal’s brain chamber, killing it instantaneously. The ten feet long tigress lay still on the ground with its victim pinned to the ground under her. Mamun lay with his face down. As the body of the dead animal was removed, Mintu touched Mamun to see if he was alive. He felt Mamun’s pulse.
“Does he have the pulse?” Ya inquired. “Yep but can’t tell how long he’ll have it. The bite has dug deep into his neck, severing some of the veins,” Mintu informed in a cold uncaring voice. Zahidul, who had been standing next to Mintu, tried to stop the bleeding with a roll of bandage. “Get the stretcher from the boat,” Ya shouted to one of his men.
Roghulal was about to step away from the spot when a blinding light flooded the scene. Ya used epithets to express his anger and frustrations. He yelled, “It’s a raid!”

FNTS Cover Final
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In a nutshell the Stories of “Pulse"

1. “Golden Horizon”- The mental state of the passengers prior to a plane crash has been depicted in this story. Sue has decided to spend the summer with her parents in Geneva; Tim, Sue’s infant son is also travelling with her. On their way, their dream turns into a horror story. The characters of the story are all fictitious. However, the story is based on a real incident.
2. “Nocturnal Saint”- In this story the influence of associates upon young people has been portrayed through a comedy. Makhdoum is the only son of a police officer. Unaware that Makhdoum had taken the path to the underworld, his parents continued pampering this spoiled brat until he turned into a Frankenstein and strangled his own family. In the end, Makhdoum’s friends became his Nemesis.
3. “The Bull”- The story takes place in Bongshal, Old Dhaka. The festive mood of Eid-ul- Azha lies in buying the sacrificial animal. In the local cattle markets this picture is seen all across the country. Sometimes, the experience is quite painful; it happens when the intention is not pure. The author tried to present this to the readers through a comical character named Six Samad who lost one of his balls while playing cricket.
4. “Unseen Presence”- Sohel is a modern young man. Like any modern man, Sohel ridicules the ideas of spirits and ghosts; to him, spirits and ghosts are nothing but superstitions. However, Sohel’s views are challenged by an old haunted house in Bonosri, Dhaka,
5. “Unfamiliar Destination”- A dream reminds Khorshed of an incident which happened in his life forty years ago. A kind of retrospection drove him to the house where he had spent his childhood. Little did he suspect that a miracle had been waiting for him over there.

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Synopsis of “Rahmat Ali”

Tarek Masud began his career as an author with this Bangla novel. He wrote in 2016. In this novel the author portrayed a reflection of his own turbulent life. It’s a sad story of betrayal in the family, and how it led to total loss of faith in those who were supposed to stand up for the family.
Be it love or friendship, it cannot stand for long on lies and deceits; eventually the house of cards crashes down on those who boast about it. At times, it seemed like a comedy. The novel’s ending is inconclusive for the author had no idea how his life was to end. The author has left it to his spouse or off springs to complete the part two of the novel.

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In a nutshell the Stories of “Five Tablets"

1. “Worthless Gem”- After retirement, Majid Master has only one dream, getting a bride for his son. Lacking foresight, that dream degenerates into an embarrassment for his family when he mistakenly brings to his household a maid having the most unworthy disposition.
2. “Quest for an Illusion”- In this story, the author narrated the ordeals of a family trying to escape from the vicious civil war in Syria. On their perilous journey to the safety of the refugee camp at Killis, Turkey, Rifat’s family faces dangerous and sometimes outright hilarious situations.
3. “Bird of the First Light”- When the residents had been drowning in love for an
exceptionally beautiful bird, a bandit chief drew a plan to rob the entire village. The bandit chief took advantage of the quarrels among the villagers to implement his villainous scheme.
4. The picture of the rural Bengal during the seventies is the focus of this tale. A helpless maid sacrifices her future to prevent her father from getting into the prison. Shahida had a sibling, unwittingly who invited a miracle while narrating the sad tale of his elder sister.
5. A quarrel broke out in Shaju’s household over watching the television which had been recently purchased by Shaju. The timely intervention of Shaju’s father prevented the quarrel from ending in a break up in the family. In this story we get a feel of what might happen when people are too self-centered