AD 455, Central India
The marauding Svetahunas manage to take prisoner Harshavardhan, among the bravest of Bharatvarsha’s warriors. In captivity, he fashions a game of combat strategy with black and white pebbles, preparing for the day when the Svetahunas and his people face off in battle – a war that will determine the future of Bharatvarsha. His compatriot Kalidasa, a famed poet, shares Harshavardhan’s captivity and the hope to save their country. 

Present day, New Delhi
When her estranged father, Rajinder Joshi, dies suddenly, Vinita is called in from New York to take charge of his 40-year-old company, AveoGen, now floundering for lack of leadership. As she sorts through his papers and effects, Vinita discovers tantalising clues to Rajinder’s long-standing obsession – the origins of chess and the identity of its creator. Shuttling between boardrooms and unknown historical sites, Vinita must battle both her inner demons and her father’s many enemies to arrive at the truth.


“The horrors of war are depicted graphically.”

– Deccan Herald

“The novel flits easily between two eras to produce an impressive thriller.”

– Deccan Herald

“This debut novel offers a playful twist on the possible origins of chess.”

– The Book Review

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