You agree with publishing industry guru Fionnuala Barrett when she says, “When you have the right voice on a particular piece of text, it’s just magical to listen to.” Audio books have given a new dimension to the written word.
Indian author Christopher C Doyle’s books are a blend of ancient history and current mystery. His latest audiobook in collaboration with Audible, Mystery of Magadh (Hindi and English), is based on Doyle’s works from his popular mahabharata series. “This is an ancient legend from the time of Jarasandha and a mysterious secret hidden by Bimbisara, the ruler of Magadh 2,500 years ago. The protagonists’ grandfather, Vidya and his brother Amar, had told them a story called the Mystery of Magadh passed down from generation to generation in their families. It involved a secret and an ancient riddle that made no sense. Vidya, an archaeologist, and Amar, a history teacher, always dismissed the story as a story made up by their grandfather,” Doyle reveals, glancing at his book.
He talks about a surprise find in modern Kashi that supports the story. The siblings follow the clues to find out the secret. An ancient legend of mahabharata. A secret from 2,500 years ago. A riddle that can lead to glory or death. What is the secret of The Mystery of Magadh? Well, you have to listen to the book to find out what, we’re not spoiling you!
There are many authors in the space of mythological fiction, but what Doyle offers is different from others. “The Mahabharata Quest The series covers several genres: science fiction, historical fiction, mythological fiction, thrillers, adventure books and mystery books, but does not fit into any of these genres. The Pataala Prophecy The series spans fantasy, mythology, adventure, thrillers, and crime novels, but doesn’t fit neatly into any of those genres,” Doyle says.
Readers know Doyle’s books as fast-paced thrillers filled with ancient secrets and science. He was always eager to explore the ancient text of mahabharata with science, scientific facts and research. “The scientific facts in my books and the theories behind my plots are always checked by experts, who ensure that my facts are correct. And the same goes for historical facts. Fiction comes by making links between science, history and mahabharata. I think that’s what makes the genre so interesting. I do a lot of research that allows me to mix fact and fiction in a way that makes the story believable. It’s hard to know where fact ends and fiction begins,” says Doyle.
Writing books for the audio format is a different ballgame compared to the regular print version. Sharing his experience working on an audiobook, Doyle says, “Since the story is being told rather than read, the style of storytelling has to change. Need to add a little more drama so the storytelling doesn’t get monotonous. Lots of descriptions and emotions have to be conveyed through the dialogues. The advantage of writing an audible original was that I could write the story as an audiobook, rather than converting my printed book into an audiobook.
But fiction doesn’t interest him much these days. He devotes his reading time to research and the pursuit of knowledge. Its library is now mostly non-fiction for research purposes. “There are so many things out there that we don’t know. There is so much amazing research and discovery that most have not heard of. The whole journey of reading these non-fiction books is most illuminating,” Doyle admits.
Over the past few years, audiobooks have slowly made their way into the hearts of readers. Even old-school bibliophiles who once shunned the format are now finding new respect for them. So what does this mean for the publishing industry? For many years now, since the advent of e-books, there have been many predictions about the slow death of their printed counterparts. But the end is far from near, believes Doyle. “Past predictions like that of the impending death of printed books have not materialized. In India, at least, physical books still reign supreme. What is certain is that the distribution of physical books will see a change. Even before the pandemic, bookstores were an endangered species; after the pandemic, even more so. Maybe bookstores will change and adapt. I feel like in India, physical books will still rule the roost,” he says.
2022 will be a busy year for Doyle. January saw the launch of his non-fiction series at The quest club on its website. Called Revealed – Mahabharata Mysteriesit would be a chance for anyone who is still completely unaware of the epic or has questions about it.
“I’ve found over the years that a lot of my readers want to read the original text. But they didn’t know where to start and weren’t interested in the stories or translation available,” says Doyle. “They wanted something thing they could understand and comprehend and cover the whole epic.In this new series, I share my research and explain the original Sanskrit shlokas of the epic. Then, volume 3 of The quest for Mahabharata series, sequel The Secret of the Druids, should also be released in the coming months. In the second half, I plan to release volume 3 of The Patala Prophecy series. There may also be additional versions on Quest Club Gold channel.”
1. The Hindu story of Akshoy Majumdar.
2. The Fingerprints of the Gods and Gods’ Wizards by Graham Hancock.
3. Mill of Hamlet by Giorgio De Santillana and Hertha Von Decend.
4. Uriel’s Machine by Christopher Lomas and Robert Knight.
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Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2022, 1:52 PM IST